Sheffield Wednesday: Hard work already under way for Owls

Lee Bullen, Wednesday's Development Squad Head Coach, will be keeping a close eye on his players fitness at the start of pre-season training

Lee Bullen, Wednesday's Development Squad Head Coach, will be keeping a close eye on his players fitness at the start of pre-season training

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Lee Bullen says the hard work has already started for Sheffield Wednesday’s players ahead of next season.

With Crystal Palace completing the Championship season yesterday with their victory over Watford in the play-off final it seems a long time since the Owls secured their place in the second tier of English football for another year with a 2-0 win over Middlesbrough on May 4.

However, it is now less than a month until Wednesday’s first team squad will report to Middlewood Road on June 27 and 28 for a series of tests and assessments by the club’s medical staff.

Bullen, the Owls Development Squad Head Coach, told The Star that individual training plans given to the players for off-season work will now be in full effect.

He said: “When the season ends we tell the lads to have a couple of weeks off to allow their bodies to recover.

“Gone are the days, though, when players could go nuts through the whole summer and then turn up for pre-season training.

“Usually we’ll say have two or three weeks off and then start doing some light exercise - maybe a run, some cycling or swimming.

“Then we progress to more structured fitness work with individual goals set for times and distances.

“As the weeks go by these would get stricter until the hardest week, which is a fortnight before reporting back.

“Then in the final week before pre-season we’ll scale it down again because the last thing you want is an injury before you even start back at the club.”

Bullen, aged 42, said it is vital that players follow their fitness regimes to prepare for the rigours of pre-season training.

“You can spot those straightaway who haven’t been putting in the work,” he said. “You know what someone’s fitness is like from working with them before so you get a fair idea of what level they should be at.”

Wednesday’s Under 18 Academy players will report for training on July 1.

Bullen said: “Sometimes the young lads come in before the senior players to get things ready at the club. Dean (Ramsdale, the Owls Academy Manager) is doing things a bit differently. The Under 21s will report back with the first team.”

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