Brighton & Hove Albion's new-look medical and fitness team have already made a good first impression on incoming boss Sami Hyypia.
A slight restructure after the Finn's arrival at the club saw Tom Barnden step up from his position with the under-21s to become the new first-team strength and conditioning coach.
Barnden will work closely with senior physio Adam Brett and his team - including, amongst others, former Withdean favourite Paul Watson - on all aspects of the players' fitness and rehabilitation.
Hyypia said, "We have good people working at the club and I can see they have done good work recruiting the people here. That is one part of the preparation and fulfilling this ambition to go higher and to be a better club.
"The facilities back home show another side and the people who work here are very professional people. That’s another part of the jigsaw that ensures the club will go forward."
Left to right: Adam Brett, Head Physiotherapist, Paul Watson, First Team Physiotherapist, Antony Stuart, Sports Therapist, Tim Buck, Doctor, Will Abbott, Academy Sports Scientist, Stephen McAleer, First Team Physiotherapist, Tom Barnden, First Team Strength & Conditioning Coach.
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The Albion boss has also been encouraged by the first few days of the club's pre-season tour and feels the ten-day stay in Spain is a crucial part of preparations for the new season - both in terms of fitness and tactical preparation.
"It is going well. We have had a few muscle issues but most of the players are fit and we have almost everyone in training so that is a good thing that we can have the group and work hard.
"It is important for me that I get to know the players better and better, but pre-season is more important for the players. If somebody misses pre-season, it will be very difficult for him to be in the squad and to play [at the start of the season].
"Therefore it is very important the players that they stay fit and do everything right. Here in Spain it is very hot, so I hope everyone drinks lots of water because that keeps you fit as well. When you are hydrated your muscles are in better shape."
In addition to the traditional fitness work, Hyypia is also instilling in his players how he wants them to play next season - but has been reluctant to reveal his approach or style of play, meaning fans will have to wait to see his plans develop on the pitch.
"We are still in the early stages of pre-season, we have some time left. But as soon as we get the ideas into the players’ heads it is better for us.
"We are working on those things, tactical things, every day and I hope I am not annoying the players too much talking about them all the time, but these are very important things when we play a game. That’s why I am talking about them all the time."
Albion's first Championship game is at the Amex on 9th August v Sheffield Wednesday. Tickets go on sale next week, and season-tickets are available now. Meanwhile tickets for the only home friendly, against Southampton on Thursday 31st July, went on sale yesterday.
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