The word ‘pre-season’ used to (and still does) strike fear into most players as they prepared for weeks of running, clocking up the miles to build a base fitness for the long campaign ahead.
However, that’s all changed now, as Chris explained. “Going back a few years, I can remember that there would be a period of time spent before you even saw a football Generally now you are into football straight away.
“There is no doubt it’s still very hard work and it has to be but maybe the two weeks of running sessions we would have had quite a few years ago are a thing of the past.
“Generally most of the planning was done at the end of the season with Martin, the coaches and medical staff.
“The pre-season period is a time where you’re bringing the levels of fitness back up to where they should be and it’s important that you have the right pre-season programme to do that.
“The finer details are generally worked out nearer to the start date but the principles of what we’re trying to get out of pre-season and the work we’ll be doing has already been done.
“Initially, the thing you think about most is fitness and building up over a period of time to take us into the games we have in pre-season.
“This time we go to South Korea, a very big trip for the players and the club and at the end of it we’re always very confident that we’ll have it right for the first league game of the season.
“It’s also about avoiding injuries and being able to start the season with a fully fit squad. It’s a vital time of year — you can’t underestimate the importance of pre-season.”
Chris Hughton believes the days of not even seeing a football for the first few weeks of pre-season training have long gone.