Wally Downes raised Wimbledon’s intensity levels, as The Dons beat the soaring temperatures to get in some early preparation ahead of Saturday’s second to last friendly.
“We used to be up in the 40s when I coached in India,” said Wally as the UK sweltered under a heatwave. “We’d try and regulate that so we’d start even earlier than we did today or later at night, but I think we’ve done alright today. We started at 9 am and finished at half eleven which is good enough.”
Midfielder Anthony Wordsworth (Achilles) was the only absentee as he was rested, but Wally expects to have a fully-fit squad to choose from for the short trip to Hampton and Richmond.
“Anthony was missing as he is feeling his Achilles a bit, so it’s best for him to ease off from it for a couple of days,” said Wally.
“I said to the medical team and the players that a successful pre-season will be me being able to select from the whole squad on the Thursday before the Rotherham game. At the moment, we’ve only got one player out with an Achilles tweak. We’ve had no soft-tissue injuries and they are the only ones that are preventable by hydration, massage and stretching right. As long as we have none, I think it’s a credit to the medical staff and players on how they’ve looked after themselves.”
Wimbledon head to the Beveree Stadium off the back of their second win in pre-season at Metropolitan Police on Tuesday night (pictured), but this morning’s session still proved to be very useful for Wally.
The squad were made to work hard in the sunshine as he concentrated on installing the “nastier” side of the game into their work. It’s an essential part of our preparations which is difficult to reproduce during pre-season matches.
“It’s about winning second balls, making sure we’re challenging in midfield and our centre-halves aren’t getting easily knocked off the ball,” said Wally. “We’ve had a long period of working on the ball and giving them freedom to play, but now we’ve got to raise the intensity during training.
“As much as you try to play at match pace in these games, unless the intensity is there and it’s a real game it’s hard to replicate. In short spells here I feel I can put the intensity into them and get them working harder and doing the nastier bits. I don’t care who you are, they happen. When they do, if the ball is bobbling around, you can’t be the team that loses it. It’s not the most enjoyable part of training, but it’s a necessity for games.”
You can see the full interview with Wally, including his thoughts on the summer transfer window, via the link below to our official You Tube channel.