This time last year, pre-season was very different for MK Dons. In fact, it wasn’t until 27 July that Russell Martin’s squad were allowed to gather for training under the EFL’s COVID-19 protocols.
Fast forward just under 12 months and while the Dons are still under some Government and EFL restrictions, there is some relative normality to how they are preparing for the 2021/22 campaign and assistant manager Luke Williams believes the side will see the benefits of that.
“It’s far better this year,” Williams said when he met with the media earlier this week.
“It’s hard to compare the two as they are so different. (Last year), we had groups of five people and had to do the same session three times a day. We didn’t get the quality in that we wanted and it quickly became very tough and exhausting.
“This is far superior. We have energy and intensity and the team are building morale. Last year, we felt like strangers, but now the guys are working very hard and respecting each other’s work.”
He continued: “It’s going very well. The sports science team have mapped it all out so we can follow it to the plan they’ve put on and it’s all running very slick at the moment.
“We want to get a lot of football work in, early. Twenty years ago, you would run to oblivion and until you can’t feel your legs but those days, certainly at MK Dons, are gone.
“Here, it’s relevant to modern-day footballers and it means the coaching staff have slots for training and specific coaching to make sure it works seamlessly. It means you’re working the same way in pre-season as you would be in the season.”
Williams also believes the Dons are benefiting from carryover in personnel from last season in, as opposed to a summer of transition in 2020/21.
“We are lucky we have guys who are helping the new ones by giving them information,” he said.
“We have a lot of guys coaching other players because they know better than us as they are on the pitch. We are hoping we can get certain things sorted quicker by having the experience on the pitch.”