Chester FC joint manager Anthony Johnson believes the busy pre-season schedule coming up will help sharpen minds in the squad ahead of the National League North campaign.
The Blues began pre-season training in baking hot conditions last night in the first session masterminded by new managers Johnson and Bernard Morley.
Chester have a busy July in store with seven games planned next month.
It will begin with the visit of Premier League side and last season’s Champions League finalists Liverpool FC to the Swansway Chester Stadium on Saturday, July 7, where Jurgen Klopp is expected to bring a strong selection.
Three days later, there will be a trip to Morley and Johnson’s former club Ramsbottom United, before a trip to the Millbank Linnets Stadium to play Runcorn Linnets on Saturday, July 14 .
The third away trip of the schedule will be to Welsh Premier League side Llandudno on Friday, July 20, with a clash the following day against League Two outfit Bury at home, a club now managed by former Chester City striker Ryan Lowe.
Another game against League Two opposition follows on Tuesday, July 24, when Morecambe visit the Swansway Chester Stadium, with the current final pre-season game against Everton U23s on Saturday, July 28.
And Johnson believes the upcoming busy July, in particular the games against the likes of Liverpool, Bury and Morecambe, can only benefit the Blues squad.
“We’ve got plenty of games which always helps, because it not just means you can work on certain shapes, but it sharpens your mind, especially against sides from higher up the pyramid,” he said.
“I’m excited about the games coming, but ultimately, it’s about what we get done on the training ground, first and foremost.”
A new look Blues squad returned for pre-season training yesterday evening in warm conditions.
And Johnson revealed what the session with the players involved as he and joint-boss Morley finally took charge of their maiden training with the squad since being appointed as Chester bosses last month .
“It’s the day that everyone’s had marked in their diary, the first day of pre-season. Some will be excited, some will be a little bit worried. But It’s great after all the planning that we’ve been doing to finally get the lads on the training ground,” said Johnson.
“The first session is generally testing, so we had the lads from a strength and conditioning gym from down the road come and do the testing with them for the first hour, and then we get them into doing ball work.
“There’s a lot of heavy grafting but it’s always with a ball. People have pre-conceived ideas of what a pre-season looks like and everyone has different ways of doing things, but we always like to involve the ball.”