Aberdeen assistant manager Tony Docherty spoke to RedTV this week in Ireland and talking about the work that is going on to get everyone ready for the Dons opening Europa League tie, which is now just two weeks away.
To watch the interview please click on the red button.
“Things have been going very well.
“That is us 11 sessions down now.
“We have done 11 sessions since we returned last Wednesday.
“We are getting there.
“The boys have trained well. Obviously we are integrating six new players so we are slowly and surely getting together as a squad.
“This week is so important.
“It is probably the most important week of the season. It is the time we bed down and the players all get to know each other. We try and generate a spirit. We can see real development in terms of that. The training has been good, the boys are training hard, and there is a real camaraderie forming in the group.
“It is good coming back to a venue that we know, there is a familiarity, and also the real benefit here is where the boys stay. They are all together in lodges and that helps promote the togetherness.
“The facility is fantastic. We loved it last year and we are making good use of it again.”
“It is the same every pre-season.
“We have lost players for whatever reason and we have had to take new players into the squad.
“We know how to do it.
“We know how to integrate the boys. But when we are recruiting we are not just recruiting footballers. We are recruiting types of people who we know will supplement what we have got within the dressing room. The six we have brought in, we have targeted these six players to help replace the players we lost last season. It is important that we got players in who were going to make us as competitive as we have been in previous years.
“We have to get them integrated right away and they are doing that. There is a closeness about the squad already and that will only get stronger.
“I must just say, the signing of Craig Bryson was a major coup for the club. To get in a player of his quality, the manager deserves a lot of credit.”
“It is also a great opportunity for the young players that have come over with. You have Seb and Ethan Ross, Dean Campbell and Miko is here. It is important for them to be integrated in the squad as well.
“They are good lads. They learn. It is a process and they need to promote themselves. It is difficult coming into the first team environment. The training is very tough. Graham Kirk is really putting them through their paces, so it is hard work but it very good for their development. We are really pleased with how they are doing at the moment.”
The pre-season training
“Pre-season used to be running up sand dunes until the first one to be sick stopped the session! Now it is very scientific and Graham Kirk is great with that. The first day they come in, we test them so we know exactly what everyone’s levels are in terms of maximum heart rate and what percentage they can they train at. So everyone has their own specific programme and it is all designed to be very specific so each player reaches their peak fitness for the start of the season.
“The manager and I also work a certain way. Our training within that, our actual technical football training is challenging. We feel we get a lot of fitness through that as well. We try and make sure there is a scientific element but we are a football team and we need to develop the players footballing skills and we can do that by combining both.
“I enjoy pre-season. It is a brilliant time of the year. You miss the football when you are away.”
The pre-season games
“Today was a football session so the players do get a balance between the work that they are doing and the football they are doing because we are not far away now. We have a game coming up on Saturday and it will be a tough game. Connah’s Quay are playing Kilmarnock in the Europa League so we have to make sure the boys are ready because we want to start the pre-season campaign well and get a bit of momentum going.
“We then play Peterhead and then Inverness who I think are going to be a good side in the Championship this season.”
The European campaign
“The European tie against RoPS Rovaniemi will be not be easy. The manager and I have poured over a lot of the footage. Also one of our scouts was over watching them yesterday. So we will get that information through as well.
“We are well versed on them. They are a good side. They are a good technical side. They like to play. So we will not underestimate it one bit. We will continue to do all the research and all the planning on them that we need to do.
“There is no game this season more important than that first leg at Pittodrie at the moment.
“I like the fact we have the home tie first, we want to hit the ground running.
“Every training session we do, the focus is on that first game and making sure we are ready. We are very conscious of the fact they have played 13 games now I think, so they are well into their season. So in terms of fitness, we need to try and get up there and also make sure that technically we are ready as well.
“The full focus of the squad is on that game.
“Just like the fans, the European games we all love.
“We will look forward to them. It is not something we take for granted. It is hard work getting into Europe. We have earned it from last season’s performances.”