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Ross County return to full contact training as preparations for new Premiership season intensify

By Andrew Henderson

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Ross County have stepped up their level of training as the fixture list for the 2020/21 Premiership campaign has been revealed.

The Staggies now know that they will kick off next season against Motherwell at home on Monday, August 5, with a trip to Hamilton set for the following Saturday.

It will be almost five full months since County were last in competitive action by the time they step on to the field against the Steelmen, but efforts have already been made to increase the intensity of their preparation.

With government restrictions continuing to ease, Stuart Kettlewell is able to get his players back into full-contact training again.

Ross County have returned to full contact training as preparations continue ahead of next season. Picture: Ken Macpherson
Ross County have returned to full contact training as preparations continue ahead of next season. Picture: Ken Macpherson

That is a major step forward, and County’s manager hopes it will allow them to progress more and more quickly from here on out.

“It’s pretty much business as usual for us now,” Kettlewell explained.

“We’re obviously still going through the testing, it has all been negative tests that have come back so far. Now we’re able to go back into full contact, so everything is good to go as far as we’re concerned.

“We have to build up to get us right up to match pace. There’s a lot of boxes we still have to tick – a lot of guys are in really good condition but there’s a difference between being fit and having that match sharpness.

“It has been a long lay-off for the guys not having those full strikes of a football, being robust enough to fly in and make full contact in training, so with that comes a few knocks and niggles.

“We have to coax ourselves through that, and the quicker we can do that, then it obviously gives us a chance to operate on the match pace levels that we would be expecting come the start of the season.”

Regan Charles-Cook last week became County’s fourth signing of the summer. Kettlewell is happy that he has been able to bring new faces in so early, and he hopes having time to integrate them fully into the squad will pay off.

“Rightly or wrongly, I firmly believe that getting people in as early as you can and working with them on the pitch is the right method,” he reasoned.

“Other people may argue differently and have slightly different recruitment policies.

“As far as I’m concerned it is definitely best to identify players as soon as is possible.

“If you can get them in the door and working on the training pitch a month before they kick a competitive ball, they’re going to get a really good handle on how we want to play.”

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