The oldest members of Wolves Academy are heading for a training camp in Spain on Friday, as the under-23s and under-18s spend a week away from Compton as part of their pre-season preparations.
Under-23 head coach Rob Edwards is hoping the time away will give him a chance to analyse the quality of players across the age groups ahead of what will be a busy 2019/20 campaign as his side compete in four competitions.
Among the schedule of under-23 games this season includes a return to the EFL Trophy and a foray into Europe as Edwards’ men take part in the Premier League International Cup for the first time.
On pre-season training camp in Spain
“Training camps like this one will give us a good opportunity to bond as a team by being around each other all the time.
“We’re taking both the under-23s and under-18 squads out, so we’re looking forwards to working together, while giving myself a chance of getting a good look at the under-18s to see which players might be ready or will be pushing this season.
“We can also work double sessions every day, apart from the days we’re playing the games, working early mornings and early evenings to avoid the heat at lunchtime, while giving the players a run out in the competitive games.
“It’s going to be a good opportunity for all of the players in the professional phase to go away as a group, get ten good days of working together and get that team spirit between the groups.”
On getting match fit
“It’s always been our plan to try and build something straight away like we did last year. We have a body of work which we want to try and stick to; getting the lads living and breathing what we do as a football club and try to get them into it as quickly as possible.
“As well as the friendlies against AFC Wulfrunians and Hednesford Town this week, we also had a training ground friendly on Friday against Shrewsbury Town’s first-team. We gave the players 45 minutes against Shrewsbury and 45 minutes against Wulfrunians on Saturday.
“Playing Shrewsbury gave the lads some minutes under their belts and was a good opportunity for some of our players to play against senior opposition, and it was also a chance to help Sam [Ricketts, Shrewsbury manager] out with some of his planning and preparation.
“We split that game into 15-minute blocks as it was early in pre-season, and with us playing against Wulfrunians the day after, it was quite a lot of work for the lads, but we felt it worked really well.
“We had a lot of double training sessions last week and then there were two games at the end of it as well, so it was a really tough first week, but everyone came through in unscathed and now we can keep building towards the new season and speed up their learning by playing the games.
“We’re now looking forwards to the rest of our pre-season schedule as we keep adding the layers to what we are doing in training.”
On busy under-23 fixture schedule
“The under-23s will be in four competitions this season, we’re now in Premier League 2 Division 1 after our promotion last year, and we also have the Premier League Cup, the EFL Trophy and the Premier League International Cup where we will be facing top youth sides from across Europe.
“This week we will find out who we are due to play in the EFL Trophy, a great competition which we all enjoyed last season, and one which the lads really looked forwards to playing in those competitive games at football league stadiums, before the fixtures are announced for the International Cup later this month.
“We always want to add more competitive fixtures to our games programme, so we’re pleased to be involved in several exciting competitions – the International Cup being a new one for us, and it’s good for the football club to be involved in European competition across the age ranges.
“We’re all looking forwards to what we hope will be another exciting season.”
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