With the Hatters players returning for individual testing at different times today, tomorrow and Thursday ahead of their full return to pre-season training on Friday, the Town media team caught up with new manager Graeme Jones as he settled into life at The Brache earlier this afternoon.
Sports scientists Elliott Plant and Luke Sanders, together with physios Simon Parsell and Chris Phillips, are overseeing the individual tests, gauging how closely the squad have followed their close season programmes.
Jones explained the week’s schedule, saying: “There is body fat testing and power testing, and they’ll be getting tested with a 1500 metre run, so we’ll have a good idea with the information by the end of the three days of where they are, what kind of shape they’ve come back in. You can tell immediately whether they’ve had a good summer or a sensible summer.
“Then we are going to work as a group on Friday – and I feel by that point – after I’ve had all my individual meetings with everybody, that at least I can introduce myself and say ‘Hi’, because I feel like I’ve been at the club for six months and not met anybody!
“I’ll speak to the players on Friday, we’ll have a group session together and at that point, everybody knows exactly where they are. Hopefully there’s a bit of familiarity and it’s onwards and upwards from that point.
“I think it’s a great week, and what I want from it is for the players to have two sessions – an individual session which is not easy, and like I said, we’ll find out a lot of information, and then we’ll have a group session on Friday which will test them.
“They’ll certainly earn any time they get off over the weekend, but I’m looking forward to it.”
Jones has made one signing so far this summer, with winger Callum McManaman arriving from his old club Wigan, but is working with the club hierarchy on potential new recruits at the same time as trying to strengthen his staff, from which he lost last season’s assistant-manager Steve Rutter last week.
“It’s ongoing,” said the 49-year-old. “We’ve lost Steve Rutter and need to replace him as a coach. I offered Steve an opportunity to stay here, but Steve had already made up his mind that the commute from Yeovil was too much and geographically he will actually see more of his family while working in Greece, which I can understand.
“I had two or three good roles for Steve and I did try my best. When I spoke to Steve I went into detail about what I wanted him to do and I tried to change his mind, but I couldn’t. He wanted to leave and I was disappointed, because he’d done a great job.
“I watched the sessions that he took and his contribution was big, but he came to me and said he just couldn’t do the commute any more.
“So we’ve got that role to fill. We’ve got a sports scientist position to fill, and then there are one or two other little areas – maybe another analyst and another masseur – but it just takes time.”
GRAEME'S TAKE ON THE TOWN FIXTURE LIST TO FOLLOW...