Posh boss Grant McCann (right) with club chairman Darragh MacAnthony in Portugal. Photo: Joe Dent/theposh.com

Manager pleased with the hot form of Peterborough United players in Portugal, no decision on a skipper, youngsters have been impressive, pre-season friendly tactics

Peterborough United manager Grant McCann insists his players are in a good place as they step up preparations for the first friendly of the summer.

By Alan Swann
Wednesday, 6th July 2022, 12:02 pm

McCann has pushed his first-team squad through a couple of double sessions in 90 degree heat during their pre-season training camp in Portugal. Posh take on League Two side Leyton Orient in a friendly in Lagos on Friday (11am kick off) when the players will see no more than 45 minutes of action apiece.

But the players look fit, sharp and highly motivated and McCann couldn’t be happier.

"We are in a good place,” McCann said. “We’ve had two double sessions and it’s been very intense work, but I’ve been pleased with the form and the attitude of the group.

"We have played an 11-a-side game when the players have done as much running in five, 10-minute games as they do in a 90-minute competitive match.

"They are very intense game. There are no stoppages, no free kicks and no corners. I have people dotted around the pitch who just throw a ball back onto the pitch instantly.

"Crosses fly in non-stop, but the players have done well considering the soaring temperatures. I’m really, really pleased with them.

"It’s been a very good camp so far. We’ve been through lots of different drills, different movements, passing, pressing and reactions and we’ve tried different combinations. It’s been very worthwhile and the players have gone about their work very impressively.

"Of course we have our first game on Friday which will be about fitness and the tactical element of the game rather than the result.

"We have structured pre-season so that the players get two 45 minute work outs, then two 60 minutes and then two 90 minutes and then at the end hopefully everyone will have had the same number of minutes.”

Posh striker Jonson Clarke-Harris, who was linked to a move to Watford at the weekend, finished last season as skipper, but McCann has yet to make a decision on the captaincy for the coming season.

The manager has taken some of the younger players to Portugal with goalkeeper Will Lakin, centre-back Charlie O’Connell, right-back Benjamin Mensah and striker Joe Taylor among the travelling party.

"They are with us on merit,” McCann insisted. “We have been very impressed with Will since we came in and Charlie is a good player, a lovely lad with a great attitude and he wants to learn.

"We didn’t see a lot of Ben Mensah (he had hamstring issues) last season so it will be good to see him perform and hopefully he gives Nathan Thompson and Joe Ward real competition at right-back.

"Joe Taylor spent time with the first-team squad last season and we have high hopes for him.

"It does the youngsters good to come out here with the first-team players and it’s good for the senior players to see what we have coming through the Academy. It all helps add intensity to the training sessions.”

After playing Orient in Portugal, Posh travel to Stevenage for a friendly on Wednesday, July 13 (7.30pm). Their other friendlies are: July 16 Barnet (away), July 19 Luton (home) and King’s Lynn (away), July 23 Hull (home) and Scunthorpe (away).

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