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First Team News

Ched Feels Setting Early Foundations Is Key

1 July 2022

Just under a week ago, Ched Evans was enjoying the “best day” of his life as he got married to long-term partner Natasha.

Often a honeymoon follows and a nice relaxing period to enjoy the life of a newlywed, but it’s been anything but that for the North End striker.

He returned to Euxton on Monday morning with the rest of the first team squad for the first day of pre-season, and it’s been a tough opening week for the lads ahead of the weekend’s game against Bamber Bridge.

Speaking to iFollow, Ched said: “It’s been difficult, I’m not going to lie it’s been hard.

“I think setting the foundations early is key. I think we’ve all got through it, although it’s been gruelling.

“We’ve got the first week done, it’s the first game tomorrow so we just [need to] keep doing what we’re doing and hopefully the workload slows down a bit, but it has been difficult.”

New Head of Physical Performance, John Lucas has been at the heart of the running sessions in particular, and Ched has been “really impressed” with the early work done.

Not quite as new, but still in the early stages of life at PNE, manager Ryan Lowe and first team coach Mike Marsh are taking part in their first pre-season at Euxton.

It’s a chance for them to have a prolonged period with the squad on the training pitch before the competitive action starts, and 33-year-old Ched knows how important that time can be.

“Everybody wants to impress,” Ched added. “They want to put a foot in the team and stand out.

“I think for the manager and Marshy they want to implement what they want to do this season.

“It would have been difficult coming in halfway through the season for any manager, but he’s got a good run at it now and can get it into the lads early doors what he wants from us this season.”

North End will make a short journey for their first pre-season friendly on Saturday, going to the Sir Tom Finney Stadium to take on Bamber Bridge for a 3pm kick-off.

The manager has said that at this stage of the season the results of the friendlies aren’t what’s most important to him, but there’s no sign of Ched wanting to walk off the pitch with anything less than a victory.

He said: “You say results don’t really matter but we want to win, don’t we? That’s it.

“Obviously we’ll go out and play and we want to win, there’s no doubt about that.

“From a managerial point of view and a sports science point of view it’s about getting the legs going again, getting the work into it and getting off to a good start.”

PNE will be back at Deepdale in a few weeks to take on Hearts and Leicester City, before the first home game of the Championship season against Hull City on Saturday 6th August.

Over 11,500 supporters have already signed up for the league campaign, which will likely give the atmosphere at Deepdale a boost.

“I didn’t know that," Ched said when told about the amount of season cards sold. "It gives you a buzz, it’s class that.

“Last season was interrupted a bit so for them to show their support and more this season is a credit to them, and a credit to the staff and the players that the fans are willing to spend their money to come and watch us.

“We need to be ready for the first game of the season and just be good, put the work in and I think if we do that we’ll get the results.”


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