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2 July 2022

Speaking after our 1-0 win at Walsall, Duff emphasised the importance of ensuring the players are prepared physically for the upcoming season.

On a rain-soaked afternoon in the Midlands, Duff insisted that the results so far in pre-season are not important, but how the lads fare physically and how they are translating their work on the training pitch to the friendlies is of more importance.

"The result is the last thing on my mind at the minute", he opened. "Everyone got through the game with no injuries. Some good football played. We worked a little bit more on defensive shape. Lots and lots of chances created.

"Lots of things to work on still, but another 45 minutes into all of the players, so there are positives, our centre forward got another goal and we got a clean sheet, but, if we lost 2-0 I'd be saying the same thing.

"You can't be wise after the event. A few of the things we've been working on, a few of them came out which is all we can do, and the lads are getting fitter and fitter."

The game also saw a number of new faces for the Reds, and it was pleasing for our 'gaffer' to see them in action and see more of what they are all about.

"So obviously, the lads who didn't play in the first game, people like Mads (Andersen), you know what you're going to get with those. But with someone like Luca [Connell], I thought he got hold of the game and did really well.

"But, I'm loathe to single people out, it's more that I've seen all the rest of them, but it's the first time I've seen him properly and it was pleasing."

As another week concludes it signals another week that our Head Coach has had to work on the training field with the lads, and Michael was pleased with the squad's reaction after a physically testing week.

"Today was good based off what happened on Tuesday", explained Duff. "They did a lot of running on Tuesday, didn't see a football on Tuesday. It was an old fashioned day.

"They all got through it, they got their heads down, there was no moaning. There was no 'what we doing this for?'; it builds resilience, mental toughness, and they'll have still had that in their legs today as well. So, it probably makes it even more pleasing that we didnt look too 'leggy', so hopefully that's a sign that they're getting fitter and fitter."

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