Williamson pledges to win fitness race

Pompey new boy Lee Williamson
Pompey new boy Lee Williamson

Lee Williamson has spent the summer running in his local park and training in a nearby gym.

Pompey’s newcomer is playing fitness catch-up – but he’s backing himself to have closed the gap on his team-mates in a matter of weeks.

The 30-year-old lasted 62 minutes of his debut against Bournemouth on Saturday, before being replaced by loanee Conor Clifford.

The previous day he participated in his first training session since the end of last season.

Williamson hasn’t had a club to work with during the close season after his contract with Sheffield United came to an end.

Despite the Blades offering him a fresh deal on reduced terms, he never trained with them again and instead opted for his Pompey future to pan out.

Now the midfielder is at Fratton Park and impressed during the opening day 1-1 draw with Bournemouth before being substituted.

The ex-Watford man, though, doesn’t anticipate it taking long before his fitness levels are up to speed.

He said: ‘I did okay against Bournemouth. My fitness – which comes from playing – sharpness and touch at times wasn’t the best but it was an okay start to my career here.

‘Basically, my pre-season started on Friday. I’ve had no football whatsoever during this summer, although I’ve been down the gym and local park regularly.

‘I have ticked over but haven’t got the minutes or had the games under my belt.

‘It was tough on Saturday but I am not going to use that as an excuse.

‘Being without a club, you have got to do it (training) yourself and I have been trying to do as much fitness work as I can, trying to replicate a game.

‘But the only way to get fit is to play games. You can tick over and get your base fitness in but that is about it.

‘Plus, Saturday was very hot, which added to it as well. It was tough to get through to be fair.

‘With the amount of games we’ve got, it shouldn’t take me long to get match fit.

‘It will be a matter of weeks I would say because the games are coming thick and fast and that’s what you need to get fit.

‘I am not saying I am going to play every game and start every game but I would have thought I will be involved in all the games which can help get my fitness.’

Williamson has had to endure a long wait to finally be able to seal a switch to the Blues.

That ended last Thursday when he penned a month-long deal – becoming one of 14 players to sign up in a hectic end of the week.

And he knows he made the right decision.

He added: ‘I had to be patient. You keep looking and the season is getting closer and closer and I am not signing.

‘I knew it was going to get done, though. I knew I was going to sign here and the club is going to be back up where it should be in no time.

‘I didn’t panic. I went out to Marbella to speak to the gaffer on the tour there and he is a manager I want to play for, so I held out and we got the deal done.

‘I needed to see him to make sure it was the right thing for me to do and it was.’