New Sports Scientist Chris McConnell has praised the players for adapting to his ideas, as he seeks to ensure peak fitness for the players heading into a crucial stage of this season.
With no Saturday game for Wimbledon this weekend, we caught up with Chris to talk to him about his first three weeks in the job.
In his interview, Chris explained his approach to the last week, as he prepares the squad for Tuesday’s home match against Burton Albion.
“This week has been a little bit different,” said Chris. “We’ve had a kind of split-squad situation. We’ve got players that played a lot of games over Christmas, but we’ve also got players who haven’t had a lot of match fitness, which is key. Earlier this week, we had the starting outfield 10 on a recovery session, while the other squad members were doing match prep for the game on Wednesday (friendly versus West Ham). As we’ve only been playing Saturday to Saturday at the moment, so just once a week, it’s given us time to get some conditioning into the players.
“I’ve worked with individual players, predominantly on their rehab. I’ve obviously worked quite closely with Woody, Kwesi, Adam Roscrow, and Jack Rudoni, who is coming back into the fold. They are probably the four players I’ve worked with most. Also, Rod McDonald told me something he wanted to improve upon from the Portsmouth game, so I’ve put together a little plan with him. When he’s training we can do some of those specific individual extras for what he wants to improve upon. If I pick up on anything that can be improved upon, for all the players too, I will recommend it to them and the management staff.”
Before arriving at Wimbledon, Chris has worked at Watford, Charlton, and Millwall, where he was Assistant Sports Scientist. Having worked with former Wimbledon defender Paul Robinson at Millwall, Chris was quick to seek advice from him about coming here.
"I didn’t know a lot about the story of the club, but I was lucky enough to work with Paul Robinson at Millwall," added Chris. "He came in as Assistant Manager for the Under-23s at the beginning of this season, so I sought his help and advice about how the club is run and things that go on. He gave me some really good advice and feedback about the club and where it has come from. He was nothing but positive about the club and the staff that he knows here.
“So far it’s been really good. All the staff and players have been very welcoming and receptive to the ideas that I’m trying to implement. I couldn’t have wished for it to be any better, it’s been really positive.
“The players have been absolutely stupendous. I’ve been given a lot of positive feedback about everything I’ve tried to implement. They’ve shown really good application and adherence. The manager has been first-class with me as well. It has been a really positive start, helped out by Dougy and Tom (Mallett), in terms of providing consistent messages about what we’re trying to deliver as one big holistic department. We are just looking to build on that in the next few weeks and moving into next season as well.”
Take a look below at Rob Cornell's full interview with Chris McConnell.