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ROBINS LOOKING FOR IMPROVEMENT

19 July 2013

Town’s Manager previews Saturday’s Rotherham friendly

Town’s First Team squad is back in action on Saturday when it travels to newly promoted League 1 side Rotherham United for its latest pre-season friendly.

Manager Mark Robins is still focussed on improving the fitness of his players through the 3pm kick-off at the New York Stadium, but admitted he’s aiming for another step-up in performance on the afternoon too.

“I’m looking for an improvement in the performance and fitness levels on Saturday. If we can do that, the result should hopefully be a decent one as well. We progressed from a defeat to a draw at York, so hopefully we can complete the full set this weekend,” Mark told htafc.com.

“However, pre-season games are still primarily about fitness. We’re trying to push the envelope on all fronts and to do that we need the players to be as fit as they can be, as we’ve said all along. We know we need to get the work into them, but at the same time we know there is a limit to what they can do on a daily basis – we don’t want to break them. There has to be a balance.

“The weather is making it hard work, but as a player I would prefer it like this. This is an important time in the preparation of the players, as we now have three First Team games before the start of the season. When you take into account the Under-21 games at Radcliffe and Dulwich, it’s busy; there’s still a lot of preparation to do. Today was a moderate training session.”

Mark also gave an update on the injuries within the squad ahead of this weekend:

“We look like we have the skipper, Peter Clarke, back tomorrow and Oscar (Gobern) is due back on Monday, which is great. Jon Stead feels better than he did and Anthony Gerrard is carrying 50% of his bodyweight on the Alter G (an anti-gravity treadmill used for rehab and conditioning). We just need them to take that next step now.”

On paper, Rotherham represent the toughest pre-season challenge so far for the Terriers and are a Club Mark knows well – he was Millers Manager between 2007 and 2009.

He continued: “Rotherham come into this season and on the back of a promotion to League 1 and I know the Chairman wants progression. People may have been surprised when he said he wanted to get the club into the Championship within five years, but he’s backed his managers and they got promotion last season in the same year they moved into their new Stadium.

“It’s a good place to go and play. The players won’t have seen the Stadium before, but it is a good one with a good pitch. It will be a decent atmosphere and a good game on Saturday.”

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