THE first-team squad jet off to Spain later today for a few days in the sun and a bit of team-building and bonding. However, first-team Coach Peter Grant says there will be the right balance of work and play on the trip with the tough set of fixtures coming up.
Peter said: "We have not had the opportunity so far this season to do something like this because on all the other international breaks we have had about 10 players away. This time only a few are involved so the Pards and myself thought this was a great chance to take the boys away, have a few days in the sun and just do a bit of bonding.
"A few of the new signings missed out on pre-season and the tour to Sweden, so it is especially nice for them. These sort of trips really do help with building team-spirit and keeping moods buoyant, so we are all really looking forward to it.
"But it will not be all play, I can assure you of that. We have full use of the training pitches out there so we will have sessions every morning and some in the afternoon as well. With the weather back in England a bit wet at the moment, the pitches at Chadwell Heath are very heavy and not ideal to train on so this is the perfect opportunity for us to still get plenty of work done while relaxing a bit as well."
With a hard run of matches ahead and a lot of games to play before the end of the year, Peter sees this trip as the ideal preparation for the busy Christmas run-in.
"We are preparing for an important period in the fixture list now with some very tough games ahead and a lot of matches to play in November and December. Our aim is to try and secure our Premiership safety sooner rather than later so it is very important we keep picking up points in these games. That is what we will be focussing on out in Spain, working together, training hard and preparing ourselves for the next run of fixtures."
It is about maintaining the spirit as well though, so the squad will be given the opportunity to unwind.
"Of course, we will give the boys some time off to relax as that is just as important as the hard work. There is a golf afternoon planned for one day and they will, of course, be watching the England v Argentina game and hopefully cheering on Konch along with the rest of the lads. We also have a quiz and a few other activities arranged so it should be a really good trip and set us up well for the next part of the season."