PAUL Ince has introduced a tough new training regime at Bloomfield Road.
The new Blackpool boss has identified lack of fitness as one of the biggest issues in his squad since taking over last week.
As well as the regular morning sessions, Ince has brought in afternoon training to give him the maximum chance to work with his squad.
And so far he says it’s gone down well. Ince said: “They are such a good bunch of lads who want to improve.
“Things have gone on in the past, when they have said they needed more work and it hasn’t happened, so to throw in an extra couple of afternoons hasn’t been a problem.
“They’ve all been happy to get on with it.”
Blackpool face Bristol City this afternoon, having slipped to 17th in the Championship table.
They started the season as favourites for promotion only for the losses of Ian Holloway and Michael Appleton to hit them hard.
And Ince thinks the players need to be in better shape. He said: “We aren’t as fit or as strong as we could be. Ability-wise, we have some fantastic players but it’s not all about talent.
“Look at a team like Cardiff – they are a strong, disciplined and structured, and they are 10 points clear at the top of the league. If we can get the fitness right and the weight right, then we’ll be fine.
“On Thursday we worked on football things in the afternoon and I don’t think the players minded at all. Being a footballer is the greatest job in the world. They are very lucky people, so it doesn’t matter about the weather or anything like that.
“It’s all about getting out there, playing football and learning things.”
While the play-offs was always the aim, Pool find themselves in a relegation battle and desperate to collect nine more points to reach the 50-point mark deemed to guarantee safety.
Today’s clash is followed by a trip to Birmingham on Tuesday night and Ince feels both games are massive.
“We have two big games coming up,” he said. “I was at Bolton on Tuesday night to watch them play Peterborough and it proved to me that all the teams are much of a muchness.
“It’s all about how a team performs on the day as the squads are so similar.
“We need to be on the front foot on the day. When you look at the start of the season, when the pitch was good, we played some great stuff.
“But now the pitch is bad we’ll have to play differently but it’s getting better.
“First and foremost we don’t want to lose the game.
“We haven’t scored first in a game for a while, which is frustrating. We have to get people into the box and sometimes we have to be prepared to take risks.
“You have to take risks to get your rewards.”