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Itching for pre-season

16 May 2014

Robbo keeping fit ahead of June return

Club captain Paul Robinson says he is already itching for pre-season to start.

The Lions ended the 2013/14 campaign with an eight-game unbeaten run, a sequence of results that included wins over Nottingham Forest, Wigan, Middlesbrough and - to ensure survival on the final day - Bournemouth, and Robbo believes players, staff and fans alike will enter August's opening fixture on a massive high.

"With the way the season ended I'm sure everyone can't wait for it all to get going again," the defender told "To rise from bottom of the League at the end of March and ultimately stay up, particularly in the way we did it, was an enormous achievement. It was a shame the season ended when it did because we were beating some of the League's best teams.

"All in all it was a difficult season, but it is important to remember that it was a transitional one, and towards the end the manager found the formula which made us into one of the Championship's form teams. That bodes well for next season."

The squad do not return for pre-season training until the end of June, but Robbo admits that he has been keeping fit to ensure he is in tip-top condition throughout the summer break.

"I've taken advantage of the good weather and gone out on some long distance runs, if only to blow some cobwebs out," he said.

"Long gone are the days when players turn up for pre-season unfit and out of shape. With the way the game has evolved you can't afford to do that any more.

"I won't be the only one doing bits on their own. All of the squad will have organised fitness schedules for before pre-season starts to make sure they are ready for when the real work starts at the end of June. That way we can hit the ground running ahead of what we hope will be a great season."

After an injury-hit 18 months prior to 2013/14, the 32-year-old featured 27 times last term, coming off the bench on the final day to help The Lions secure an all-important clean sheet against The Cherries.

Robbo is 37 appearances short of reaching 400 for the club and the defender is determined to secure a regular starting spot under boss Ian Holloway in 2014/15.

He said: "Like under any manager you have to go out there and impress in every single training session. The gaffer has been great since he has come in, and towards the end he went with Dunney and Mark (Beevers) at centre-half, who turned out to be a great pairing.

"It is up to me and Danny (Shittu) to come back for pre-season and do everything we can to work our way back into things.

"I love playing for this football club; that will never change. But pulling on the shirt is not a right, you have to go out there and earn that reward. That's how I have always seen it, and I'll be working as hard as ever to play as much as possible.

"I'm absolutely committed and determined to win my place in the team back, so I can't wait for that challenge to start on the first day of pre-season."

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