Knibbs: improved fitness will help Saints make final push

Southam United players have been given a stringent pre-season programme as manager Lee Knibbs looks to improve on last season’s seventh place in the newly renamed St Mary’s Hospice Midland Football Combination.

Knibbs made clear his disappointment with the lack of commitment of some of his players in key matches, particularly in losing in four cup semi-finals.

He sees a younger, more hungry side taking the field next season, with fitness being a key element to the pre-season work.

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Training sessions start at Banbury Road on June 29 and will take place on Tuesday and Thursday evenings and Saturday afternoons.

But, before that, Knibbs expects players to have completed a three-week fitness and endurance programme, with two sessions a week involving activities such as rowing, indoor cycling, outdoor running and swimming.

“It is important players look after their bodies through what will be an enjoyable, but tough pre-season,” said Knibbs.

“The players who put the extra work in will receive the rewards.”

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Knibbs has confirmed most of his backroom team with Simon Walker promoted from the reserves to the first- team set-up.

Fitness coach Chris Packham, goalkeeping coach Chris Roberts and physio Kelly 
Davis all remain from last season.

As yet, he has not appointed a new assistant to replace Michael Hayden who left for Racing Club Warwick.

Saints will complete their pre-season match programme at home to Daventry Town on Saturday August 3 and will come up against former player Chris Murphy who has joined them this summer.

Town finished eighth in the Evo-Stick Southern Division One Central and will provide a stern test of Saints’ credentials.