Sheffield United: City parks and hills provide perfect pre-season training for Blades

Boss Nigel Clough
Boss Nigel Clough
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The Steel City is supposedly built on seven hills and, with Nigel Clough famed for his punishing pre-season programmes, Sheffield United’s players could find themselves climbing each and every one of them ahead of the forthcoming campaign.

Explaining why he has opted to eschew the now traditional week long training camp in favour of something a little more homespun, the former England international cited the landscape which surrounds Bramall Lane, combined with an aversion for living out of a suitcase, as the major factor behind his decision to establish a base camp in South Yorkshire rather than sunnier, foreign climes.

“We’re going to Formby for three days but we’re not having a long training camp or anything like that,” Clough told The Star. “That’s because we’re not big believers in them.

“All of the players have already been away on holiday over the summer and so they probably appreciate being at home.

“It’s easy to get bored when you are hanging around in a hotel for long periods and then, if you do go abroad, it’s often too hot to do the work that you want.

“We can do all our football work at our own training ground. And people will see us doing the fitness stuff around and about the city. We’ll be utilising it’s geography and it’s parks.”

United’s low key preparations for the 2014/15 campaign mirror the no-nonsense, back to basics approach which proved so effective during Clough’s first seven months in charge.

Having inherited a team languishing towards the foot of the table, he led them to a creditable seven placed finish and into the semi-finals of the FA Cup.

Clough, who together with his staff has already performed reconnaissance of suitable locations to help whip his squad into shape, has confirmed United will face Burton Albion, Northampton and Huddersfield in friendly competition later this summer with more dates yet to be arranged.

“There’s obvious links with Burton Albion and Northampton,” Clough, who started his managerial career at the Pirelli Stadium, said. “Chris (Wilder, the former United player) is down there and so that’s why we wanted to get one with them sorted out.

“We were happy to go to Huddersfield but then they came back to us and asked if we could do it at Bramall Lane which we were delighted with to be fair.”