Preston North End’s Welsh international Billy Bodin is undertaking his first pre-season at Springfields and has enjoyed the first ten days.
Speaking to iFollow PNE, as the players returned to training following their 7-0 victory over Bamber Bridge at the weekend, the No.39 feels the squad came back in good shape and took that into their first game of the pre-season schedule.
“I am feeling good” he said. “It is nice to be back, to see the lads. Once you have had a couple of weeks off over the summer you start to think about pre-season and so it is good to be back out there.
“I feel the benefit of the work I have done over the summer. A few years ago people didn’t come back in great shape, but football has changed a little bit and you do a lot more now in the off season, coming back with a base fitness. A lot of the lads here have done a lot of work in the off season and it is showing in training.
“As much work and running you do in training, it is nothing like playing a proper game and on Saturday against Bamber Bridge we had to do the right things. The gaffer said he wanted us to play as if it was a normal game and I think we showed that throughout the game. Coming in 5-0 at half-time, having got a goal as well, felt good.
“The manager wants us to do certain things and as long as we do that in training every day and take it into the games, then it becomes second nature. The games will get tougher, but the running and fitness work we are doing will be something we can take into the games.”
All the hard work that is going in now is a build up to the opening weekend in just under four weeks’ time, but for Billy that wait is an agonising seven days longer, following his red card in the final day of the season against Burton Albion.
However, that wait is tempered by the fact that a game in the principality is second up, something he and many of his family are looking forward to.
“It is frustrating knowing I won’t be available for the first game, but I have to try and get myself into the team for the second game,” he continued. “I will keep working hard on the training pitch and in the games to be ready.
“Obviously, I am gutted to be missing the first game, but I will just keep working hard to try and be in the gaffer’s plans for the second game.
“Most of my family are from Cardiff, so they will want us to win that one [Against Swansea City, the team’s first away game of the season].
“It is a massive game for us; they have just come down and still have a strong side and a lot of good players and so it will be a great one to be involved in and a good test for us.”
But back to this week and those preparations and the build up continues with a short trip to Mill Farm to face AFC Fylde for the first time, and Billy expects a tough test, having seen a good bit of the next opponents last season.
“I watched a few games last season and they are a good side and had a good season.
“They are going to be trying to prove a point and impress and so we just have to work hard, do what the manager asks, be on the front foot, like he always wants us to be and hopefully we can pick up another good result,” he added.
You can watch the full interview with Billy by clicking on the video link at the top of the page.