Sheffield Wednesday: Owls get into swim of things

New signing Jacques Maghoma has settled in well with the Owls
New signing Jacques Maghoma has settled in well with the Owls

Boxing is not the only sport to which Wednesday are turning to complement their football fitness sessions.

After sparring at Middlewood with Johnny Nelson and undergoing a morning of boxing-style training, players can expect to be put through their paces in a swimming pool occasionally.

Swimming is regarded by Dave Jones and Alex Armstrong, the club’s director of performance, as being useful for contributing towards general fitness.

There is a good opportunity to take a dip while the squad are staying at the St George’s Park national football centre at Burton-on-Trent, which has a pool among its many facilities.

But mostly of course the Owls’ work is football-orientated - with Jones not so keen on pure running as some managers.

“We don’t do a great of running on its own,” said Jones. “Our running is generally done with the ball. The balls come out from day one of pre-season.

“It’s a case of just get back into it for the first couple of days. Then we start to step it up - and it’s good to add a bit of variety, with things like the boxing.

“The boxing went down really well - and we’re going to do that quite regularly.

“The sports are different, but have certain things in common. If you’re in the penalty area and being challenged, you have to have the strength to hold them off, as Johnny Nelson did with our lads. A lot of them were thrashing about, but he taught that when the body is tired, you still need mental discipline.”

Wednesday also did something different by beginning their outdoor football training on the University of Sheffield’s artificial surface at Broomhill, with the Middlewood grass not quite ready after this summer’s bad weather.

With the work having switched to the pitches at St George’s, new signing Jacques Maghoma is said to be settling in well.

Jones is pleased that that the Owls are playing Romanian champions Steaua Bucharest, in tomorrow’s private friendly: “The game came about just through contacts. They phoned me and asked to play us.

“They’re probably a week ahead of us in their pre-season and start their Champions League programme soon.”

The Owls are also sending an Under 21 side to play the annual friendly at Dinnington Town on Tuesday, kick-off 7.30pm.

Dinnington will also be at home to Rotherham United a week tomorrow, 3pm.

Wednesday have also announced that midfielder Chris Lines has left the club by mutual consent.