Why pre-season will be a shock to the system for Sheffield Wednesday's squad
Pre-season will be a shock to the Owls' squad system, manager Steve Bruce has warned.
Wednesday flew out to Faro to begin a 10-day warm-weather training camp on Monday morning. Double training sessions will be the order of the day in soaring temperatures in Portugal, which is the first leg of their European tour.
Bruce, preparing for his full season in charge of the Owls since succeeding Jos Luhukay, told The Star: "Make no mistake, they will have to work hard. They will get a shock because it is the only real time I am able to give it to them.
"Once the season starts, it is very difficult to do it because you are playing Saturday-Tuesday-Saturday and you're recovering.
"This six weeks is going to be huge to get the team playing with intensity which I believe you need to have in the Championship.
"It is very difficult when you come in February but hopefully over the next five to six weeks we will get them as fit as we can and have a team to pick on the opening day of the season."
Wednesday's players were sent away with their own fitness programmes to follow over the summer break and Bruce is pleased the vast majority have all returned in peak physical condition.
"The players all had to come with different weights and standards to get too," said Bruce, who is refusing to give up hope of bringing defender Michael Hector back to Hillsborough. "They have all come back in very, very good nick which is pleasing.
"One or two still need a kick up the bum but that's normal.
"To play consistently in the Championship, you have to be fit and, over the last couple of years, the club unfortunately has fallen down in that respect. "Hopefully a good pre-season under everybody's belt will give the players the intensity that we have to work at."
The Owls kick off their 2019/20 campaign with a trip to Reading on Saturday, August 3. Bruce's side are also scheduled to play Barnsley, Millwall, Luton Town, Preston North End and Queens Park Rangers in a hectic opening month.
Bruce quipped: "Every manager wants a good start because you know what happens if you don't! It becomes difficult and it is usually off with the manager's head!
"We all want a good start. That's imperative so let's hope we can.
"As we saw towards the back end of last season, we were very genuine and honest in our work and with that we were consistent too.
"They have proved that all being equal and they stay with it we can have something to look forward to next season."