Mansfield Town head for the sunshine of Portugal today – but boss John Dempster warned it would be no holiday as they were there for 10 days of hard work at the pre-season training camp.
However, he hopes it will also bond the squad together well and integrate the cream of the club’s U21s into that environment too.
This is the second year Stags have made this trip and Dempster said: “Having been there last year the facilities are outstanding – the pitch, the gym, and there is a golf course there if the boys have a rest period and there are any golfers in the team.
“There is everything you need for a good pre-season training camp.
“Over the 10 days we will be drip feeding into them how we expect them to behave on and off the pitch. It will be a time to talk tactics and what we expect home and away.
“A big part will be fitness plus the social side of the players getting together and getting to know the new staff members and new players.
“Hopefully the players from last season will get back together and talk about their summer breaks, how refreshed they are and ready for the new challenge.”
Dempster warned of a tough 10 days, saying: “It’s not a summer holiday – the summer holidays have been and passed.
“We are going there to work and set the foundations for a successful campaign.
“You always look forward to coming back and getting in amongst it with the boys and the staff. But it can quite a painful time physically, so that can make coming back quite daunting.
“But it is a really rewarding time for players.
“Although the challenge is tough, when you’ve got a sweat on and you’ve worked your socks off with your team mates, or when you have achieved a certain time in a certain run, when you have showered and you’re driving home or heading back to your room, you get a real sense of fulfilment and achievement.
“That is part of the team bonding process that I am looking forward to.”
Along with the first team squad, Dempster is taking the pick of the U21s along to for the experience.
“We will take the whole squad out there to get everyone together,” he said.
“We’re also looking at taking 10 of our U21 players which will allow us to do different types of sessions and integrate them into the first team squad, which will be an unbelievable experience for those younger players.
“I am really looking forward to seeing how they not only deal with the physical work but also being in and around the first team players socially. It’s a brilliant challenge for them.”