Tailor-made training is perfect fit for Pompey

Andy Barcham during training. Picture: Sarah Standing (141940-3065)
Andy Barcham during training. Picture: Sarah Standing (141940-3065)

Andy Barcham will be fighting fit for the new campaign with some tailored pre-season training.

The Blues winger missed the final two months of last season with a double groin injury that saw him play his most recent game in the miserable 5-1 loss at Scunthorpe in February.

But it wasn’t the only injury he picked up in a frustrating first term at Fratton Park.

In fairness, he also showed more than enough in his 31 appearances to suggest he will be a valuable member of Andy Awford’s squad for the forthcoming campaign.

While Awford is keen to get his men in tip-top shape – and will use some modern science methods at the University of Portsmouth further into pre-season – he also knows he cannot run the players into the ground.

And with players like Barcham and Danny East, who also suffered several injuries last season, there is a more considered approach in reaching optimum fitness levels.

Awford explained: ‘We’ve had the whole group training for a few days now, which is great.

‘Touch wood, we haven’t had any niggles and it’s going well.

‘The players are working really hard and the double sessions have kicked in this week.

‘The ones who have had issues or injuries in the past, you know about them.

‘These days, you don’t just turn up and go out to train like we used to do.

‘They come in early and do their rehabilitation programme.

‘If you have had an ankle, thigh or hamstring problem, you would come in and do work on it and do the strengthening exercises to protect it from happening again.

‘So the likes of Andy Barcham have had a few issues and Danny East is another one.

‘They are through those injuries now but it’s a case of managing them and making sure that they are on specific programmes to do the extra work before and after training.

‘They have done exactly what the rest of the group have done, but every player that needs it will do some extra specific work because of a previous injury.’

While Awford has his own pre-season experiences – often recounting hauling himself up and down Butser Hill in blistering heat under the glare of Jim Smith – he knows that times have changed.

‘We are all built differently and that’s what has changed over the years,’ said Awford.

‘Of course, they can do some group stuff that they all do.

‘But a lot of it is now tailored to the individual. Everybody is different.

‘Gone are the days when you all did the same stuff and everyone just had to get on with it.

‘You get individual bits to do as well.

‘For example, if you’ve pulled a hamstring, you are doing rehabilitation work on it for the rest of your career.

‘You have to do the extra work around the normal fitness work.

‘The biggest thing at this 
stage of the season is to avoid injury.

‘But you can’t put them through stupid amounts of work when they physically can’t cope with it.’