Hard work paying off for experienced defender...
AS ONE of the experienced heads in the squad, Dean Holden has been something of a father figure to the rest of the lads.
Having been away on numerous pre-season tours throughout his long career in the game, he knows how important these type of trips are in preparation for a new season.
“Being away like this allows players to naturally form friendships,” he said, having proven to be a tennis Champion and an adept surfer during his time in the south-west. “It’s a good way for both the players and staff to integrate out of our comfort zones and in a different environment.
“It also allows us to train at different times of the day and pack a lot of work in.
“I must say that it’s been a good trip with plenty to do. The surfing in particular was great for active recovery following Wednesday’s game at Taunton.
“Most of the lads had never done it before, but they all gave it a go.
“These days rest is as important as fitness and there are some fantastic facilities here that we have been able to use such as the tennis courts, gym and heated outdoor pool.”
Having seen last term wiped out by injury, Holden, who has been handed a player-coach role, has worked his way back to full fitness as he looks to play his part on the field in the campaign ahead.
“I feel good right now,” he went on. “Last year was a difficult season for me, but that’s in the past now and I have worked hard this summer to put myself back in the first-team frame.
“I have to realise that I am competing against much younger lads for a place in the team, but I thrive on that kind of challenge.
“It was nice to be out there in action on Wednesday. I felt that I did okay, apart from the own goal. As a team we created plenty of chances and should have won the game.
“The Gaffer was able to try out a few things, which is what these games are all about.
“It’ll be a tough game at Torquay on Saturday and another step up for us. They were relegated at the end of last season, so will be wanted to prove a few things and to perform against a team from a higher level will be one of those things.
“We want these type of games to get us ready for the challenges of the new season.”