Schumacher sharpens up by cutting through Ischl

Steven Schumacher of Fleetwood Town trains in Austria
Steven Schumacher of Fleetwood Town trains in Austria
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Steven Schumacher is confident he’s finding his cutting edge in the Austrian alps after Fleetwood Town scythed through SV Bad Ischl.

Town beat the Austrian part-timers 8-0 on Tuesday night – a game in which Schumacher made his first appearance for the club.

The midfielder said: “I’m looking to be stronger, fitter, and sharper as each game goes by. It’s all about cementing a spot in the starting 11 come August.

“The squad is strong and there’s a lot of competition for places at this early stage.

“It’s everyone’s goal to be named on the team sheet come the first game against Dagenham and Redbridge.”

It was the former Bury man’s first football since April, having undergone a hernia operation.

“It was good to get 60 minutes under my belt,” he added. “I really enjoyed the run out and, of course, the win.”

After Tuesday’s demolition of the fourth-tier Austrian side, the players had a lighter day of training yesterday.

“The run was more relaxed,” said Schumacher. “It was more of a cool down because of last night’s game.”

After a strength and conditioning session, the players were given the afternoon off and enjoyed a trip on the cable cars to the top of the Hoher Dachstein, where the 29-year-old was impressed by the surroundings.

“The sights are unbelievable,” said Schumacher. “It’s nice to get an afternoon off , come up here and see these views.”

But Schumacher, a former Shakers captain and Everton trainee, was less impressed by the sight of some of his team-mates.

“The squad were allowed to wear their own clothes,” he explained. “Some of the stuff the guys wear is that bad they’d rather wear the training stuff.”

Shumacher, who missed the first couple of days’ training, insisted the trip to Austria was far from a holiday for the Fleetwood squad.

“The team has been pushed in previous days,” he said. “Some of the runs have felt like we’ve run up these mountains, but the training facilities over here in Obertraun are different-class.

Schumacher is now looking forward to getting back to the UK and playing his first game in front of the Highbury faithful.

Town’s first home friendly is against Preston North End in Nathan Pond’s testimonial game on Saturday week.

Schumacher said: “I’m looking forward to getting to know all the fans and it should be great.”

Before then, Town play their second and final match on tour tomorrow evening, with a late change of opposition. Instead of facing Cyprus champions APOEL, Town will meet German side SV Wacker Burghausen. And Schumacher hopes for another run-out to make up for lost time.

He will be sponsored this season by Fleetwood Town Juniors and is keen to reward their faith in him.

He said: “I’m really looking forward to meeting the youngsters, who have taken me on as their sponsored player.

“I’m looking forward to giving them something back during the season.”