The Tigers are currently away on a training camp in Marbella, with tonight’s game set to be played at the Marbella Football Center (KO 7.30pm), and after just over a fortnight of groundwork McCann feels his players are ready for the next step.
“We played an 11 vs 11 game between ourselves last week with 40 minutes each way, so the lads have had that taste of it and it shouldn’t be abnormal to them when they play 45 minutes each against Leyton Orient and Lincoln Red Imps this week,” said McCann.
“We’ve had a good couple of weeks leading into this third week where we’re stepping up in terms of the games, and it’s good to have that base already. Pre-season games are all about fitness and it’s another training session for us really, especially these early games.
“However, it is important that the boys take on board the principles that we’ve set as well as their roles and responsibilities. The players have been outstanding since day one and have trained with a real intensity and purpose.
“The result is irrelevant in many ways tonight. It’s about making sure we don’t pick up any knocks and that the boys get as much as they can out of the game. There’ll be times when they’re running for the sake of running but that is what we want as they adapt to the way we play.”
McCann is planning to give his players 45 minutes each this evening, although Markus Henriksen, Kamil Grosicki, Jon Toral and Will Mannion won’t be involved in this opening game. A number of the Club’s promising younger players can also expect to play a part.
“We’ll have two 45-minute teams and we’re just looking to get as much out of the game as we can in terms of fitness, intensity, sprints – that is the main focus for us tonight,” added McCann.
“There’s seven of the younger lads that have travelled with us and will play parts in the games this week. That will be good for them to see the environment around the first team, although some of them have had a taste of that already. This will be a chance for them to blend in and understand how we are going to play. It should put them in good stead for the season.”