Barry Fuller has been on the beach for completely different reasons to most footballers at this time of year – and he says that messages of support from fans are providing extra motivation.
Our captain is striving to join in with the rest of his team-mates at the start of pre-season after receiving good news from his specialist yesterday.
Barry, who has been out since February after injuring his left pectoralis muscle, said: "I have been sticking to the programme put together for me, but I've been doing a bit extra too. I've been doing 5km runs and gym work, including shoulder presses to strengthen the muscles around the pecs. I have also been running along the beach, up and down steps, and all different kinds of exercises.
"It would be nice to be on the beach somewhere relaxing, but that's something I've had to sacrifice. I am playing a bit of catch-up with the rest of the boys in terms of fitness and I want to be ready for the start of pre-season.
"I have had some lovely messages over the last three months from our supporters. It started off after I had the operation and carried on when I came back and did a warm-up on the pitch at a game. It was also great to see the fans at our end of season awards. It gives you that spur when you are running along the beach. Jake Reeves, 'Barchy', and George Francomb also sent messages after I posted a picture on Twitter of me running up steps."
Later this month, it will be four years since Barry joined AFC Wimbledon and he is determined to come back stronger than ever to help the club remain competitive in League One next season.
"I was gutted to miss the end of last season, but the break may refresh me, and hopefully I can come strong and ready," added Barry. "I have to earn the right to get my place back in the team. It is going to be a really tough league next season with the teams coming up and down. There will be clubs with much bigger budgets than us and for us to be in and around it we will need to be on top of our game every week. We will be underdogs and among the three or four favourites to go down, but this club always finds a way to be above that. We will roll our sleeves up and give 100 per cent for the club.
"When I first signed here the club was on the up and since then it has progressed both on and off the field. The club is looking to move to a new ground and it will be great for the club to be back home, where it deserves to be. Hopefully, we can still be in League One or higher when that happens."