Paul Cook has urged his Wigan Athletic players to make the most of their week in the sun – because there’ll be a booze ban for the rest of pre-season ahead of the big kick-off.
The Latics squad is currently over in Spain getting to know their new manager, who arrived earlier this summer from League Two winners Portsmouth.
As the Wigan Post revealed on Monday, the week will be more about bonding than ballwork, with Cook hoping the sunshine setting – not to mention ‘a few beers’ – will help instil a great team spirit.
But once this week is over, Cook expects nothing less than total professionalism in the lead-up to the big opener at MK Dons on August 5.
“When we come back from Spain, there’ll be strict alcohol bans until the start of the season,” Cook revealed.
“We want to be fit and ready for the big kick-off.
“We’ll be doing two days on, one day off, three sessions a day, and we’ll pride ourselves on fitness.”
Once the campaign gets under way, Cook will slacken the leash a tad – but only if his methods are respected in the spirit they are intended.
“For me, the lads will be allowed to go out on a Saturday if they want,” he said.
“If there’s a midweek game, they’re not allowed out. That’s the way it should be.
“I don’t mind players going out for a meal and a few beers after a game, I have no issue with that.
“But after that you should dedicate yourself to football.
“If you want to be a successful footballer, you must sacrifice.
“If you’re not prepared to make those sacrifices, you will not be successful.”
Cook is confident his regime will help to foster the kind of team spirit he believes is essential if Latics are to achieve both their short-term and long-term goals.
“At football clubs where there’s a high turnover in players, it is very hard to build team spirit, and work ethic,” Cook acknowledged.
“Because there’s so may changes, lads are coming in and out of the door all the time, and it is hard.
“That comes with having had a lot of managers, and what we want now is a period of calm.
“We want lads to come in, work hard, do their best, have a smile on their face, train hard and enjoy their football.
“Hopefully that will ensure the lads have something to smile about.”
Meanwhile, Wigan’s opening home game of the campaign, against Bury, has been moved back 24 hours to Sunday, August 13.
The Shakers are in League Cup action against Sunderland the previous Thursday.