Cherries: Pre-season key to another quick start
SHWAN Jalal says Cherries will be targeting another fast start as they look to make an immediate impact in League One. Jalal starred as Eddie Howe's men took League Two by storm last season with a fine opening to the campaign laying the foundations for promotion. The goalkeeper kept six clean sheets and conceded only four goals in their first nine league games as Cherries rocketed to the summit. Jalal believes the seeds were sown for the early-season purple patch during a meticulous warm-up programme orchestrated by conditioning coach Jon Dalzell. And although the squad has now been stood down for the summer, Jalal insists there will be no let up from the players as they look to return in tip-top shape. He told the Daily Echo: The boys came back very fit last season and that helped Eddie in terms of preparation. We got the footballs out earlier and it made pre-season a lot more enjoyable. In today's game, footballers are athletes and the extra one or two per cent you can get over another team is vital. I think it showed in the way we kept going until the last minute and was a massive theme to our success. You could see we were a fit team by the number of late goals we scored as well. Most of the lads are still training. We have all been given off-season programmes to keep ourselves fit because it's not as if you can go away for eight weeks, abuse your body and then hope to come back and try to trudge through it. We are expected to come back fit and then we can get straight back into it. If you can hit the ground running, you can do more ball work during pre-season and be better prepared. Jalal is also looking forward to a series of friendlies against higher-level opposition, with his former club Tottenham kicking-off the schedule on Saturday, July 10. They are massive games, said Jalal. We have held our own against some of the big teams that have come here and I think it shows what a good footballing side we are. I think we will be suited to League One. Every player is looking forward to testing themselves against teams from higher up and seeing if they can hold their own. Everybody wants to play at the highest level possible so we've all got something to prove when we play these teams. Spurs are a Champions' League side now so it's going to be a fantastic game and a tough one. But it is games like this that you want to play in. Fulham were runners-up in the Europa League and we held them to a 0-0 draw here last season. It's just fantastic that we've got teams of this calibre coming to Dean Court.
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