Pre-season fixtures key for match fitness

The Jets' upcoming trial matches will provide a good opportunity for the squad to start building valuable match fitness.

Hunter Ports Newcastle Jets assistant coach Craig Deans says the Club-s upcoming trial matches against local opposition will provide a good opportunity for the Jets squad to get valuable match fitness under their belts.

The Jets play their first match of the pre-season on Wednesday, June 19 against Newcastle University FC at Ulinga Oval.

The fixture is one of five friendly matches that the Jets will play against Hunter-based opposition during the next two months.

“Match fitness is important as far as these games go, but also just breaking up the amount of training that we-re doing at the moment,” Deans said.

“It-s a long off-season in the A-League, so the sooner we can get some games in there, the better.

“The players will be under fatigue, especially in the first two games. It-s a good way to put them under pressure during the game, if we can train them hard leading into the match.

“Some will play 30 minutes, some will play 60 minutes, but just the opportunity to play a game together is important as well.”

Deans said the trial matches will also be used as a platform to tinker with playing formations and personnel.

“The conditioning aspect of it is pretty important at this stage. It gives them a chance to use the ball and get fit, rather than running up hills and sand dunes and whatever else has been done in the past,” Deans said.

“It also gives us a chance to look at some different options as far as formation goes and to experiment a little bit.

“That-s the point of these games, to look at different formations and see if we have a little bit more flexibility when we play from game-to-game and if we can adjust when necessary in the middle of a game.”

A portion of the Jets squad will miss the first set of pre-season matches due to Young Socceroos commitments or injury.

Deans said it was crucial to monitor the workload of each individual player during pre-season to ensure they are properly managed.

“The physios and medical staff have been pretty diligent with their monitoring of all the injured players and how we introduce them back to full-time training,” Deans said.

“Until the boys get back from the World Cup and our injured players get back to full fitness, we just have to manage the squad as best we can.

“Fortunately we-ve got the young boys that are playing in the local competition who we can use when we need them, and it-s a good experience for those young kids to come into the full-time environment and mix with the A-League squad.”