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No Mal Practice


09:00 22nd March 2013

Purchase making use of international break

Wolves' first team squad are currently in the middle of a two-week international break, but, as fitness coach Mal Purchase explained this week, this doesn't mean there will be any let-up in the intensity of the training sessions at their Compton Park base.

Purchase worked alongside boss Dean Saunders and assistant manager Brian Carey at both Wrexham and Doncaster, and has been working in tandem with Tony Daley since arriving at Molineux in January.

Now, following the victory over Bristol City at the weekend, Purchase is making the most of the break in fixtures, and has spent the week assessing the first team squad to ensure that they are in peak condition for the remainder of the campaign.
"Because most of them have got these two weeks off, we like to re-test them in all aspects of their fitness," he explains.

"We screen them and test things like their body fat, and look at their speed and agility work, so we know where we have to work with individual players and, hopefully, are able to spot problems before injuries develop.

"We like to test them about three or four times a year to see how they are progressing, but as some of the tests are quite demanding, it's something we can only really do during a break in fixtures."

He continues: "It's important that we use these two weeks to help the players to catch up on their speed and agility work, improve their athletic ability and generally sharpen them up."

Jack Robinson, Christophe Berra and Kaspars Gorkss all departed for international duty following the Bristol City game, and Purchase admits that losing members of the squad for an extended period of time can prove frustrating.

"You can't really monitor their progress at all when they're away," he says. "They're not going to get any fitter on international duty, especially when we are already 38 games into the season.

"It's just a case of them going off to play the game, and hoping they are looked after."

Having arrived at the club midway through the season, Purchase believes that the players have had to adjust to a new style under the Saunders regime, but that the working relationship that he, the manager and Carey have developed during their time at Wrexham and Doncaster will benefit the squad.

He explains: "The type of fitness drills you do with the players really depends on how you want your team to play.

"It was a different style of football under the previous regime here, so consequently, the training was different. That's why it's so important for a coaching team to know who they're working alongside, so you are all working towards the same thing."

Saturday saw Wolves hit back to beat Bristol City in the last fifteen minutes, with goals from Sylvan Ebanks-Blake and Kevin Doyle overturning David Davis' first half own goal.

That comeback victory followed two previous occasions under Saunders - the games against Leeds United and Watford at Molineux - in which Wolves have hit back to claim a point in injury time.

Despite admitting to being pleased to see the fitness and stamina of the squad convert into points, Purchase is determined not to rest on his laurels and continue to get the best out of the players as they aim to climb out of the Championship relegation zone.

"It's gone ok in terms of fitness so far," he admits. "But we've got a long way to go. A fitness coach is never satisfied - you always want more and more.

"We've only been here for a short amount of time, we need to get them to the fitness level that we want, then we go again. The longer we have them the better we'll get.

"What we really need is a full pre-season of hard work to get them right in shape."

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