Steve Bruce issues pre-season warning to Sheffield Wednesday squad
Sheffield Wednesday's first-team squad have been warned they will be fined if they return from their summer breaks overweight.
Every player is expected to adhere to their individual fitness programmes, which they all received at the back end of the 2018/19 campaign. The squad are due back at Middlewood Road for rigorous fitness testing just before Owls in the Park on June 30. And manager Steve Bruce, who is preparing for his first full season in charge of Wednesday after arriving at Hillsborough in January, expects his players to return to Sheffield in good physical condition.
He told The Star: "The players have been told they will be fined a week's wage if they don't come back back in tip-top shape for the first day of pre-season. "They have got to be in tip-top shape to hit the ground running."
Bruce feels fitness has been a problem ever since he succeeded Jos Luhukay last January. He has vowed to conduct a root-and-branch review of their issues as he looks to avoid a repeat of the problems they suffered last term. "Everybody has been purring at the work-rate, pace and intensity Liverpool have played at in the Premier League this season," said Bruce. "It is mind-blowing. "Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying we can aspire to that (level) but it is essential if you are going to be a good team in the Championship that you play with a certain level of intensity." Wednesday will step up their preparations for the 2019/20 campaign by jetting out to Faro for a 10-day warm-weather training camp on July 1. It will be the sixth time the Owls have headed to Portugal during the close season in the last eight years but, as things stand, there are no friendlies planned as part of the trip. Bruce is seeking to whip his squad into shape and has expressed a desire to arrange at least six friendlies before they begin their Championship campaign in the first week of August.