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Gavin Cowan: The days of running up the Wrekin are over

AFC Telford United boss Gavin Cowan has declared the days of running up and down the Wrekin during pre-season are over.

AFC Telford United players back in pre-season training at Lilleshall
AFC Telford United players back in pre-season training at Lilleshall

Boss Cowan sees no benefit in running his Bucks stars into the ground – or up large hills – this summer and will focus on making training relevant and football dominated.

Cowan’s side returned from their summer break to Lilleshall for a double session on Saturday.

The boss explained how players look after themselves throughout summer under the watchful guidance of former Shrewsbury Town sports therapist Aaron Lambley.

“There’ll be less training through the summer, they’ve had a pre pre-season programme which, fortunately, we trust the lads and they’ve all stuck to it,” said Cowan, whose side’s first friendly is Saturday’s trip to Ellesmere Rangers.

“We will find out at training if they have!

“As long as they all come through the initial testing then the focus is very much on footballs and maximising the small amount of timing we have with them.

“I like to think I’m a bit of a new-age manager with old school mentality, ethics and morals.

“There’s definite value in seeing what heart the lads have got but I know these lads well.

“I know the lads I’ve brought in quite well. You need to have the initial testing but it’s a different era now.

“The days of running up the Wrekin and trying to hold on to vegetation to keep upright, as I was made to do, have gone.

“They’re going to have to work hard but we like to keep it stimulating, with a football, relevant to what they’re doing.

“Aaron Lambley is phenomenal for us, he’s working on their loads and will manage each player individually and as a group.

“It’s pre-season, they need a base fitness but have done a lot of hard work already. It should be footballs and footballs only.”

The Bucks will train at Lilleshall throughout the summer and the boss said the facility’s support is vital.

“Lilleshall are so supportive,” Cowan added. “As a football club we’re still not in that place where we can afford a phenomenal facility.

“But they’ve been overly accommodating because of the relationship we’ve got. We’ve been very fortunate they’ve been on board to help. They’ve gone above and beyond.

“That’s where I talk about community and everyone mucking in.”

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