BEN Garner takes his Colchester United squad to Spain today for a pre-season training camp – with the aim of them hitting the ground running when the new season starts.

The U’s preparations for the forthcoming League Two campaign go up a notch this week when they go on their travels, in readiness for the big kick-off on August 5.

Garner is looking to lay down his footballing principles in the opening days of pre-season, along with enhancing team spirit as the days count down to the League Two season.


And the U’s head coach says what happens between now and their curtain-raiser with his former club Swindon Town will be crucial in determining how they start.

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Garner said: “Short term, we’re transitioning them back in – they’ve had an off-season programme but now it’s about building the fitness levels and transitioning them back into full-time training and building those fitness levels, alongside other football principles that we want.


“We will do that as a holistic approach if you like, it will all be football based and we’ll be bedding in the principles we want and also developing that team spirit and togetherness that will be so important.

“And then as we go through pre-season, you’re obviously looking to become fitter, faster, sharper and get more principles into our play so that once we get into our season, we wand to start on the front foot and hit the ground running.

“It’s great to be back – we’ve had a nice break and we’ve had an opportunity to recharge the batteries a little bit and reflect on last season.

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“We’d already done a lot of prep at the end of last season, looking ahead to this one and it’s great to now be back in and building towards that.

“Hopefully we’ll have a good pre-season and get some really good content into the players, add to the squad and get it to exactly where we want it to be and then really attack this new season.


“It’s an exciting one and one that I’m really looking forward to.”

Colchester play their first friendly of the summer when they travel to play Pitching In Isthmian League division north side Maldon and Tiptree, on July 8.

The U’s will also play the likes of Peterborough United and Leyton Orient and Garner says there could be another friendly added before the season kicks off.

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He added: “We’re pleased with the pre-season friendly schedule.

“There’s a nice balance to it, it gives us the minutes that we want.

“We’ve got a programme we want to stick to.

“We’re looking to add one more and then we’re all set.”