Wigan Athletic squad’s trip to Spain this week will be more about bonding than ball-work, according to boss Paul Cook.
The Latics players returned from their summer break at the weekend, and will spend this week getting to know each other over one or two continental lagers – with the full blessing of the gaffer.
The most important thing now is making a clean start for the clubPaul Cook
“There’ll be a little bit of training, but it’ll be mostly social,” Cook revealed.
“We’ll be doing the beach runs, which is always a little bit of a kidder.
“They’re actually very tough, but some people don’t realise that until they get there.
“But we’ll also be having a few beers, and making sure everyone gets to know each other very well.
“We’ll also be laying out the ground rules over there in terms of what we expect from them in pre-season.
“It’ll be great for everyone – it’s a chance to meet, and it’ll be more than running around and working. It’s a good environment, and I’ve done it at every club I’ve been at.
“At Chesterfield and Portsmouth we went to Portugal, but this year it’s Spain and I’m really looking forward to getting to know the guys.
“But when we get back it’ll be all about knuckling down and getting a good team out there on the pitch.”
It’s a bit of a change from previous summer camps under the likes of Roberto Martinez and Uwe Rosler, which were more football-focused.
But Cook insists it’s imperative to really get to know his players before embarking on the challenges that lie ahead.
“We were booked to go to Austria, but I told the chairman I don’t think what the lads need is a week in Austria, with not a lot to do,” he added.
“The most important thing now is making a clean start for the club.
“This is where we’re at, and what we want to do now is progress and move forward.
“To do that, we can only move forward together, and good clubs are where everyone works hard together.
“There’s always going to be disagreements between managers and players – that’s football.
“But when you get a group pulling together as one, that’s huge.
“The experience of being away together will do everyone the world of good.
“It’s good to sit down as a group and have a beer, a game of golf, whatever.
“We will be training, but it won’t be overly exerting.
“There’s plenty of times for all that when we get back – that’s for sure!”