Mansfield Town boss John Dempster ready for Portugal training work to pay off

Mansfield's players during a training exercise.
Mansfield's players during a training exercise.

Stags boss John Dempster feels the tough work put in by his players in Portugal will reap it's rewards during the League Two campaign.

Mansfield played matches against Glasgow Rangers and Swansea City and enjoyed some vital team bonding and fitness work at the Amendoeira Golf Resort in the Algarve.

Relaxation time for the players at Amendoeira Resort

Relaxation time for the players at Amendoeira Resort

He said: “Pre-season was already planned by the time I took over but I was really pleased to go back to such an outstanding facility. It was a brilliant trip.

“At Amendoeira, you’ve got a pitch on site which is in immaculate condition and it really allows you to do the tactical, technical and physical work that is required for pre-season.

“It was very hot but we trained at 10.30am and then trained again in the afternoon about 4.30-5pm, when it was a little bit cooler, but the boys were seriously tested in those conditions. That will definitely serve us well over the season.

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“Even though it was hot, it was important to get all of the physical work in that we planned. It’s ideal to get that base level of fitness that you need over the course of the season.

“Having made a couple of new signings, it just ticked all the boxes from a football point of view and a social point of view. The lads staying together in comfortable surroundings and getting to know each other is really important as well in terms of building that team spirit.

“It was nice to play a bit of golf as well during the downtime. The experienced golfers were allowed one full round on the Faldo course and I played as well. The course is great but the standard of golf wasn’t very high – I certainly lost a few balls.

“The lads who hadn’t played much played golf, played the Academy course, which is great fun as well and it’s floodlit.

“We played Rangers and Swansea, who were both over there staying nearby as well.

“But we wanted a nice mix to training and not just to run players into the ground. We also made use of the sand area there – we did a sand-running session, which was pretty gruelling for the lads but it was also useful to be able to use the pools for recovery and low impact workouts.

“Any manager wants the players as fit as possible without working them too hard and thankfully, we didn’t pick up any injuries. We also had a team-bonding night out at Vilamoura marina and we didn’t pick up any injuries there either, so that was good! Of course, I was just there supervising!”

Dempster added: “I took the under-21 squad there last year as well so I was well aware of the facilities from last pre-season but I couldn’t recommend the place highly enough. We had some great help from the staff on site as well – they couldn’t have been more helpful.

“The chairman came to visit us while we were there and he was really impressed. He’s based out there so hopefully we can arrange another visit for a mid-season break. Maybe near Christmas time, it might be quite nice, but I think we will have to see how the season is going before I can ask about that one!”

The resort has also hosted a long list of teams since it opened in 2009. Clubs of the standing of Ajax, Aston Villa, Rapid Vienna, Sunderland, Blackburn Rovers and QPR have visited in recent years, while Fulham were also there this summer.

A pristine training pitch on site and near the accommodation is always useful in terms of the logistics, but two Championship golf courses – the Faldo and the O’Connor – and the only floodlit par-three course in Portugal for those less-experienced with a golf club in their hands, ensured nobody was holed up in their room going stir crazy during recovery times.

Team bookings are usually made six to 12 months in advance to ensure exclusive use of the pitch and there are all of the associated conditioning facilities available: a high-tech gym, ice baths, running paths and some useful areas for downtime with games rooms, meeting rooms and places to relax.

For more information on Amendoiera, visit: