Ollie shapes pre-season plans

Blackpool manager Ian Holloway
Blackpool manager Ian Holloway
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IAN Holloway is drawing up plans to take his Seasiders squad abroad for a pre-season training camp.

The Seasiders boss wants Pool’s preparations for the season to be a little different this year.

In recent summers, pre-season has included short tours to such destinations as Latvia, Devon or the Isle of Man to play in tournaments.

But this year Holloway wants his players all to himself for a crucial period next month.

He wants his squad to be holed up together somewhere abroad, where the emphasis will be on training and bonding.

The manager said: “I need to look at planning pre-season, which will take about ten minutes because I know exactly what we want to do. We are well on with organising the games.”

Holloway revealed this plan for the first fortnight of pre-season: “The lads will come back in on a Thursday and we’ll have them around the training ground for three or four days to get everything sorted – measure what they’ve done over the summer and see exactly where their fitness is. We’ll make any new signings feel part of it and then we’ll go away.

“I’ll have the players to myself 24 hours a day and we’ll have no games in that period.

“It will be like a training camp. It will be all about patterns, fitness and weights and basic camaraderie.

“When we come back we will start some fixtures but I need that two-week period with my lads to make sure we are properly prepared.”

Pool haven’t decided where they will go but the options include Europe and America.

Holloway believes that first fortnight will be essential if Pool are to regain their freshness for the start of the Championship campaign.

He added: “The awkward bit for us is that when we come back we will have had less of a break than nearly all the other Championship clubs.

“That has happened to us two years in a row now because of the play-offs last summer and now relegation.

“It is like having two late nights one after another – if you’re an old codger like me, that doesn’t work well!

“So we need to prepare thoroughly, and get the balance just right between hard work and rest and relaxation.

“My lads needed a proper break this summer because they have been going non-stop for the last two years and have given me everything they’ve got.”

Holloway is in close touch with chairman Karl Oyston as negotiations with out-of-contract trio David Vaughan, Stephen Crainey and Matt Gilks continue.

All three are expected to leave the club but the manager remains hopeful the improved financial packages on the table will persuade at least one of them to stay.

The boss has also drawn up a list of transfer targets, which Oyston and secretary Matt Williams are pursuing.

Pool’s pre-season programme is expected to include a mouthwatering home clash with Scottish giants Rangers next month.