Peterborough United manager Grant McCann reckons Junior Morias has a huge career in the Football League ahead of him.
Morias returns to St Albans tomorrow (July 8) for the first time since the Saints sold him to Posh in January.
But his old club’s fans might not recognise their popular former striker. He’s shed over a stone in weight since the end of last season.
“Junior’s attitude is spot on,” McCann stated. “It has been since he came through the door.
“He’s desperate to succeed at Football League level and he will do whatever it takes as he’s proved since the end of last season.
“I had a chat with him after the last game and advised him to slim down and his reaction was to come into train every day and get himself as fit as he could possibly be.
“He lost over a stone before we returned for pre-season training and it can only help him become a big hit at this club.
“The ability has always been there. I’m convinced Junior has a huge career ahead of him.”
Morias can’t wait to show off his new lean, mean look at Clarence Park tomorrow.
“It is a sacrifice I had to make,” Morias said. “I spoke to the gaffer and Ben Mackenzie (club sports scientist) at the back end of last season and I’ve done what they asked.
“Ben has been tremendous in terms of helping me during the off season, coming in to train with me and I thank him for that. I wanted to give myself the best opportunity so that I can perform to the best of my ability this season.
“I tried my best last season, but I felt like I couldn’t perform to the best of my ability. I joined the club from non-league where I wasn’t training day in, day out and it does take time to adjust.
“I feel this pre-season will be very important for me. The work I have done in the summer has got me to this point and I feel the training now is like a top-up.
“The strength has always been there, I just had to shed a little bit (of weight). But as much as I was working on my fitness, I was also working hard on all other aspects of my game to make sure I keep improving.
“We have strong competition for places especially among the strikers. Obviously I want to play, but If I’m not in the side I will on the sidelines cheering the boys on.”
Michael Bostwick is the major doubt for Posh as they approach their first pre-season friendly of the season at St Albans City on Saturday (3pm kick off).
Trialist right-back Liam Shephard is expected to play though.
McCann will field two separate teams at St Albans with no player seeing more than 45 minutes of action.
Posh could also start with a new formation as it’s expected the midfield diamond will be ditched in favour of a similar system (three centre-backs, two wing-backs) Chelsea used to win the Premier League last season.
“I have the players who can play that system well,” McCann insisted. “But we will have several formations we will be able to use and I expect to play more than one at St Albans.
Clarence Park can be found at 1, York Street, St Albans, AL14PL.
Admission is £10 for adults, £7 concessions and £3 for juniors.
St Albans finished 10th in the National South League last season. They are managed by former Arsenal player Ian Allinson.