Evans Outlines Vision for New Era Under Hurst
Wednesday, 6th Jun 2018 17:23
Town owner Marcus Evans says the club will be aiming to introduce a universal playing style at both academy and first-team levels and increase the Blues’ sports science expertise under new manager Paul Hurst.
“It’s a new era and a key part of my vision for the club moving forwards is to create an innovative and modern culture in the way we operate at the training ground in the development of players and coaching staff,” Evans told the club site, outlining his blueprint going forward in addition to the fundamentals previously set out in his Five-Point Plan.
“We already have a good foundation in place and now we want to take the best of what we have and enhance it.
“As we have always done in the past, the manager will have full authority in the running of the football side of the club and he will be ably supported by Chris Doig and existing staff covering coaching, sports science, medical, fitness and recruitment.
“A key responsibility of Paul’s will be to oversee our evolving strategy to develop a playing style as well as a fitness and mental attitude ethos throughout all aspects of the club, and to work with [academy head of coaching and player development] Bryan Klug and the club’s coaches who will translate these goals as appropriate through all age groups.
“To further assist the transition of players from one squad to the next there will be greater involvement of coaches across the board, so our U23 coaches will be part of the first-team set-up, while Paul and Chris will have an active role within the U23s and U18s where possible.
“Sports science is becoming an increasingly important area of the weaponry at clubs and we are making great strides forward in this area and that will continue.
“[Academy manager] Lee O’Neill will head up this department and will be supported by a soon-to-be-appointed first-team sports scientist and fitness coach, ensuring we transfer best practice in fitness and medical across all squads with a goal to significantly increase availability for minutes on the pitch for all players.”
The likes of Andre Dozzell, David McGoldrick, Tom Adeyemi, Emyr Huws and Teddy Bishop missed much of 2017/18 due to injury and Town hope an expanding partnership with Dr Gavin Devereux and the University of Suffolk will help reduce the casualty list going forward.
“We will be monitoring players closely through training and games using GPS techniques,” explained O’Neill, who was the academy’s head of sports science prior to his current role, having gained a degree in that field from Loughborough University.
“We will also be in a position to step up our observation of players’ well-being, looking for signs of fatigue, nutritional needs, making sure their sleep patterns are right. We will be doing saliva, hormone and cortisol tests.
“There will be a constant screening of players’ physical needs using the most advanced equipment in bio-mechanics to aid strength and conditioning.
“It is all designed to give players from first-team to academy the best possible chance of reaching their maximum potential physically and of course, reduce the risk of injury.
“This area of the game is only part of the evolving jigsaw puzzle that makes up a football team and it’s there for the manager to take what he wants from it, but it’s important we provide the best support service we can to the players and coaching staff.”
New boss Hurst was a firm believer in sports science while at Shrewsbury, where his comparatively small squad was among the fittest teams.
He says he wants his Blues side to play on the front foot but will also expect them to put in the hard yards.
“I won’t be reinventing the game. The requirements of hard work and commitment will be there,” the new manager, who officially takes charge on June 18th, added.
“I will be looking for the players to give their all. That should be a minimum requirement in any team but it doesn’t always work out like that.
“From that base, I want us to play on the front foot though. I want to have energy and intensity in our performance and, above all, I will be encouraging the players to go out and play and enjoy their job.
“I have always tried to do that wherever I have been as a manager. To get players to enjoy the way they play on a football pitch.”
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