IT was back to work for Blackpool’s stars today as they returned for pre-season training.
Ian Holloway’s squad reported to their Squires Gate training ground for the first time since missing out on promotion at Wembley in May.
There were no new faces among the squad, although a number of trialists are expected to join training this week.
And defender Ian Evatt told The Gazette he was pleased to be back.
“To be honest we all needed the break after Wembley. It was very upsetting and took a while to get over, but we are back now and ready to go,” he said.
“We’ve lost a couple of lads from the dressing room, but apart from that it’s the same squad.
“The Blackpool way is to do business late in the day, so no doubt when we get into the swing of things we’ll see a few new faces.
“Pre-season is something you need to do as a professional. I don’t think anyone really enjoys it, if I’m honest about it.
“It is hard work, but it stands us in good stead for the season.
“It’s important that you’re as fit as possible, especially with so many games in the Championship.”
The Seasiders will be put through their paces this week before flying to a warm weather training camp in Portugal next Monday.
Evatt claims last year’s pre-season trip played a big part in their good start.
And he hopes this year’s will be even better.
He said: “Last season it was fantastic over there.
“I believe we are going to a different area of Portugal this year and by all accounts it’s brilliant.
“Phil Horner (physio) has been over there to check it out, and he says the hotel and complex is even better than the one we used last year.
“It will be nice to get away with the lads, get away from this weather and have a bit of team bonding.”
The mood in the camp at Bloomfield Road is as positive as ever, with Evatt claiming Pool could be on the verge of big things.
He added: “Having thought about what happened last season, I’m really determined to get going now.
“We have a group of players who can achieve something very special. We’ve proved yet again that we are a good team and I think this league is there for the taking.
“If we play all this season like we ended last, then I’m sure we’ll have a good run at it.”
Evatt’s defensive partner Alex Baptiste used today’s opportunity to do something he hasn’t in a while – kick a ball.
Baptiste revealed: “It will be nice to touch the ball again, I haven’t since Wembley.
“I’m not too bad a runner, so pre-season isn’t that bad for me.
“Our break hasn’t been as long as everyone else’s in the league, so hopefully we’ll get fitter a little quicker.
“It was so important we kept the manager. I’m amazed he wasn’t linked with more clubs. It was a massive summer really in terms of the manager not leaving.
“It will be good to see him again. Where we are now is all down to him.”