Mark McChrystal on pre-season so far
Mark McChrystal, who is just beginning his 13th pre-season, says it doesn’t get any easier as the years go by!
The central defender, who skippered the side for the last eight games of last season, is glad, though, to be back out on the training ground.
“Pre-season training is always hard, no matter what stage of your career, but the hard work has to be done during the summer to get yourself in condition ready to go on the first day of the season.”
This is the first pre-season undertaken at Rovers by manager Darrell Clarke.
“The boys have worked really hard and we have undertaken double sessions each day and done an awful lot of running.
“It’s been good, though, and I hope we will all feel the benefit of it in a few weeks’ time.”
There are a lot of new faces on the training ground just now, including the five new signings and as many as ten triallists.
“There are a few players from last year and quite a few newcomers but as the weeks go by things will start to take shape we will know who is going to be here and who isn’t.
“It’s just good to get going again after the massive disappointment of last season I think it took a few weeks to get my head round what had happened. Now we all have to turn our attention to what’s ahead of us.”
One positive is that last season’s back five are still here, which should provide a solid base for the new season. Remember, they kept 15 clean sheets last time around.
“We have been together for around 18 months and have a good understanding of each other’s play. The positive thing is that we are still here and hopefully we can stay together and be the backbone of a good
Conference football will be a little bit of a step into the unknown for a number of players, ‘Macca’ included.
“I think Lee Brown is the only one of the back five to have played in the Conference before but it’s just something we have to adapt to and get on with.”
The new players who have been signed, though, have experience at that level, none more than Lee Mansell.
“Lee’s arrival and that of the other new lads means that we have quite a few players who know what the Conference is about.
“We will need the experience of those lads, undoubtedly, but I think we have a good blend in the squad at the moment.
“We have to accept we are where we are and get on with things and make sure we give our all to put things right.”
The Conference fixtures will be published tomorrow, a sure sign that the start of the new season is getting closer.
“I think everyone is itching to get going now and I think it’s good that we know that our first game is going to be at home.
“At the start of every season, at every club, players want to get that first game underway. With a home game and, hopefully a big crowd, it’s important we get the result we want.”
With another two weeks of training, including a week at a training camp in Cardiff, the squad is shaping up nicely for the first competitive friendly fixture against Bath City on 19th July.
“It will be good to get away for a week and continue to bond as a group. There has been a good camaraderie about the place this week and everyone has worked really hard.”