Cherries: Warming up to the Big Freeze
BOSS Eddie Howe admits the weather has disrupted his team's routine but is hopeful Cherries' scientific fitness approach can help beat the Big Freeze. Cherries have seen their usual training schedule affected by the recent freezing conditions. Their time on grass pitches was hit by waterlogged surfaces last month and the cold snap has again forced the Dean Court squad on to artificial pitches and into the gym. Forecasts suggest the sub-zero conditions are here to stay until at least Friday, with snow also a possibility, while temperatures are predicted to rise on Saturday. And Howe is determined to ensure his players are as well prepared as possible ahead of the trip to Bristol Rovers. Howe told the Echo: We've been on the all-weather pitches a lot in the past two weeks. It's not ideal because you can't do the things you want to do, but we had it last year so it's nothing new to us. It's a disruption and I'd imagine it's the same pretty much everywhere, unless you've got a dome. On the artificial pitches, you tend to have a small area so you can't do any team work. It's more individual and small-sided game stuff. Howe added: People can still tick over. We've got a couple of lads here who we have to manage and who can't train on all-weather surfaces. You've just got to try to keep everybody fit and healthy and still fit enough to play, and that's a delicate balance. We've just got to make sure that we don't force people to train on surfaces they are not comfortable with I think that's key and we let the players take responsibility for what they do and how much fitness work they need. We're quite scientific with our approach and we know where all the lads are fitness-wise anyway. But we just need to make sure they're topped up at this stage rather than anything else because they've had a lot of games. Fitness-wise, the lads shouldn't be too bad. Jon (Dalzell, conditioning coach) keeps track of everything and we have detailed analysis of how hard they work during the week, so we're doing what we can but the weather can play havoc with your plans and preparations. But at this level, unless you've got a dome, a covered area or undersoil heating that you can use, I'd imagine every club is in the same boat. One of the players hindered by the weather is midfielder Mark Molesley, who is closing in on a return from his long-term foot problem. The former non-league star is currently unable to join in on the all-weather pitches and is awaiting Cherries' return to grass before taking his next step on the comeback trail by training with the rest of Howe's squad.
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