THE 1874 COLUMN - By Matt Waters

OVER the past three weeks 1874 Northwich players have made their return to training.

Co-managers Wayne Goodison and Paul Bowyer decided to make it optional due to the current circumstances we are living in, however, we have seen excellent numbers at each session.

Paul revealed what it’s like creating effective socially distanced sessions.

He said: “It’s great to be back with all the lads again. We are now in the position where we are trying to create sessions to accommodate the large numbers we are getting, rather for 12 or 13 people.

“It’s what sets our players apart. We said it was optional but they all want to be here and it’s brilliant to see the way they have returned!”

With the social distancing measures still in place, Paul explained: “The biggest challenge is to create different exercises which keeps everybody on their toes.

“Usually without the social distancing measures we would be able to create sessions where we would break it up between some contact and non-contact work.

“However, now, we can’t do that so when you have the whole session for two hours, you have to put in exercises which keep a high tempo.

“I think we are all just waiting for when we can get the green light for things to go back to some normality, then we can develop our sessions more.”

Paul highlighted the aims of the work currently taking place with the players.

He said: “We have several targets we hope the players can take from the sessions, one of which is trying to introduce as much ball work as we safely can.

“As a manager you can make them do as much running as you want but you still have to strike a balance within the sessions.

“By doing this it keeps the players pushing each other and keeping it competitive.

“We are trying to change our sessions each week to provide challenges for them; last week we split the players up in groups, this week it’s been about them working together.

“We are all working towards getting the green light so that we can run more normal drills.”

Paul spoke about how delighted he was by the levels of fitness the players have returned with.

“They’ve all come back much fitter than they finished last season, they’ve all looked after themselves well,” he said.

“Ryan Jackson has been flying in the running which is great to see after coming back from injury.

“It’s a bonus for the other lads such as Jack Pritchard that they now have four to six weeks in which they can solidly focus on fitness and it’s great to see them working so hard.”