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Reaping The Rewards


09:00 28th June 2013

Doherty reflects on first week back

Coming to the end of the first week of pre-season, and Matt Doherty and the rest of the Wolves squad are certainly feeling the effects of the return to the Compton training ground.

But an intensive return to action ahead of the start of the League One season on August 3 is certainly for the greater good with Doherty targeting Wolves being the fitness team in the division at the end of Kenny Jackett’s first pre-season.

The Head Coach has masterminded his usual pre-season regime for the first two weeks of pre-season.

After the initial two days of various tests it has been triple sessions all the way – an early morning run followed by a football session and then gym work in the afternoon.

“The first couple of days was the different fitness tests and then the rest of the week we have been having triple sessions,” Doherty confirmed.

“It’s a 7.30am start so we’re certainly all back working and it is going to be as hard a pre-season as I will have had.

“It is hard – and I think we look forward to it being over – but it is part of pre-season and we will get the benefits for it.

“We could end up being the fittest team in the league as a result.

“We will still have a lot of quality players here for the league and the fitness levels and hard work will help that.

“That will give us the best possible chance of getting promoted.”

On a personal note Doherty has appeared for Wolves in the Barclays Premier League, finished last season as the regular right back in the Championship, but also knows a bit about League One after a successful loan spell last season with Bury.

All in all he made 22 appearances in all competitions whilst with the Shakers, scoring three goals.

“Although Bury were struggling last season I enjoyed my time there and felt good in the matches,” he explains.

“I was able to get forward and felt there was plenty of space and while it is going to be tough I think we have a good chance of doing well.

“You do get teams playing football and I felt I was able to get forward and make some good runs.

“What we do have to deal with is that teams will be playing their very best game against us.

“They will be giving it everything to try and beat us and cause what will be called an upset and so we have to be geared up against that.

“I am looking forward to the season and hopefully can play a part in something good happening here.

“No one wanted to be relegated but once that is over you want to do as well as you can whatever league you are in.

“We know it is going to be difficult but the ambition is there to go up.”

Jackett once tried to sign Doherty while manager at Millwall, certainly a positive for the 21-year-old defender, but he also believes there are many among the younger crop at Molineux who now have the potential to impress the new Head Coach.

“There are quite a few of us who have experience now and even those a bit younger at 19 and 20 have got a chance of playing this season,” he says.

“Knowing that the gaffer wants to revamp the squad will make the younger lads think they are that little bit closer.

“It is up to the players then to show what they can do and to start with get on the Scotland trip which will probably show more of what is going to happen.

“There is a good atmosphere among the young lads here but to be honest the atmosphere in the whole squad has been good this week.

“Everyone is getting on well and even the attitude of those players who may be moving on has been good.

“Everyone is working hard, there is no one who is on the edges of it all, and it’s all been very refreshing to see.

“The training sessions have been good so far, very lively and sharp.

“The gaffer was encouraging us to keep the ball on the floor and you can see already what he is trying to do and how he is going to work.”

Finally one player still not back for pre-season having only just finished international commitments with Scotland is striker Leigh Griffiths.

The 22-year-old has however been back to Compton to meet Jackett and make arrangements for his return and Doherty, who played in the same Hibernian team as Griffiths during a loan spell in 2012, believes he is primed for a positive impact.

“Leigh is a good player who can score a lot of goals in this league,” he says.

“He could be just what we need.

“I think he’s found a place around here now and will settle in knowing he should be here for the season.

“He’s a full Scotland international now, having started in the win against Croatia who I think are the third best team in the world at the moment.

“He has got good ability and has got a great strike on him so can score all sorts of different goals.

“And he is one of those players who if he loses the ball it doesn’t really affect him.

“He keeps his confidence and will carry on trying his tricks and that is what helps him keep scoring goals.

“It is clear that a lot of what he does comes off when he is scoring 20-25 goals a season.”

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