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Don Cowie confident in Ross County players’ ability to reach peak fitness quickly after ‘important’ break following play-off run

By Andrew Henderson

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Ross County should be ready to hit the ground running in the 2024/25 season, according to Don Cowie.

Needing a play-off at the end of last season to secure their Premiership status for another 12 months meant that it will be a somewhat truncated pre-season before matches start up again.

That means there will be no pre-season trip like there has been in years gone by, but Cowie feels that was a sacrifice worth making to make sure his players are physically and mentally refreshed.

After back-to-back play-off finals, the Staggies have had minimal time to recover from long campaigns. Picture: Ken Macpherson
After back-to-back play-off finals, the Staggies have had minimal time to recover from long campaigns. Picture: Ken Macpherson

He has seen first-hand how fitness levels in football have changed over the years, and that gives the now-permanent County manager confidence that it will not take long for anyone to get back up to full speed.

Alongside club staffer Jason Moriarty, an appropriate plan has been concocted to build up fitness levels as quickly as possible.

“Normally we would have been back earlier, but with the play-offs we extended the break to give the players four weeks,” Cowie reasoned.

“I thought that was important for them physically and mentally, but that meant by the time we came back there was just under three weeks until the first League Cup game, so there’s not really a window to go away.

“We have a couple of friendlies which will be important, and we will make the most of the good facilities we’ve got in Dingwall to get ready for Stranraer away.

“The situation we’ve been in is really intense with the demands and the pressure that’s on everyone at the club to secure our Premiership status, so I thought it was important to give everyone that extra bit of time.

“It’s still probably not long compared to what some teams get in England, but it’s important for the players to be able to switch off for a couple of weeks and get ready.

“In four weeks, the players don’t lose too much fitness. When I first started, you would be off for eight or nine weeks and you’d need at least six weeks of pre-season to get that fitness back up, but it’s not like that anymore.

“We’ve got a really good sports scientist here in Jason Moriarty, so we’ve got a plan in place ready for them coming back, and then it’s just about building them back up to be ready for the first League Cup game.”

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