Charlton boss Lee Bowyer is looking to repeat the success of last season’s pre-season trip to Portugal.
The Addicks players return to Sparrows Lane on Friday and fly to Spain this weekend for some intense training.
Bowyer explained: “We’re going to be working hard, there will be a lot of running and we’ll break them in with the ball work. The first part is pure running and trying to get fitness to a decent level. We’ll do double and sometimes triple sessions during the day and then we’ve got a game as well. That will be a chance to get 45 minutes into each of them, some of them will play more.
“It’s a bit of bonding, letting them know from the beginning what we want to achieve this season and that it is going to be hard work that will get us there. Our fitness is going to have to get even higher than last season. Last season I believe we were fitter than any of the other teams in the division but we’re going up a level. They’ll be even fitter than we were, so we’ll have to work harder this pre-season than we did last season. It’s going to be a lot of hard work while we are there.”
Bowyer was very pleased with the impact last season’s pre-season training camp had on his team. He said: “Last year’s pre-season was important and this year will be the same. It’s hard work, there is no other way of putting it. It’s a lot of things to take them out of their comfort zone and push them through the barriers because when you play on the Saturday and a Tuesday night, when you think you can’t go anymore, you’re body needs to be used to going through that. We have to push them so their body gets used to going into places they previously weren’t used to.”
Bowyer’s focus on pre-season relates back to his playing days and he believes having that extra fitness can make such a difference. He said: “If you hold back then you go into a comfort zone and you then accept that the person will run away from you and that could be the difference between them scoring and not scoring. When your body goes through that pain barrier, you don’t allow that to happen. To me that’s a big part of the game, your fitness is massive. You are always going to give the ball away and you are going to make mistakes but your fitness is the most important thing for me because that makes the game so much easier.”