With a full week’s training under the belt since reporting back for duty, Owls Director of Performance Alex Armstrong is delighted by the fitness levels of the squad.
Armstrong was impressed with the players upon their return to training, with each individual having successfully conducted their own three-week fitness programme prior to their return.
The Owls coach said: “Everyone has come back in better condition than at the same stage last year, and they were in good condition then.
“We’re virtually at match pace and looking sharp, and there are still nearly five weeks to go.
“Last year we were a League 1 team coming into the Championship; this year most of them have had a year of Championship games and training, so they’re on a different level - and they’re flying.”
Armstrong enlisted the help of Sheffield-born, former WBO Cruiserweight Champion Johnny Nelson on Tuesday at Middlewood Road to assist with the physical and mental conditioning of the players.
The training session combined boxing style circuit training, in addition to sparring and pad work.
Armstrong added: “It’s obviously about improving fitness; both muscular and endurance, but it’s also about discipline and desire and obviously a bit of boxing and controlled aggression can help that.”
Nelson said: “I’ve had the lads sparring and trying to control their anger, so when they’re playing against an opponent who’s trying to get a reaction, they will understand how to control their aggression.
“What the lads have got to do is learn to relax, learn to enjoy, and learn to go through the motions - that’s when you produce cameos of excellence.
“If they train and put the work in, they’ll get the results.”