Long-serving midfielder raring to go after tough pre-season Training Camp in Germany
Sam Saunders believes that the great spirit within the group could be an added edge to help Brentford improve upon last season’s ninth placed finish in the Sky Bet Championship. A fantastic run to the end of the season, which included seven wins in nine games in April and May, propelled Dean Smith’s side up the table and now Sam revealed that everyone is aiming even higher. While other teams compete on a different level when it comes to spending power and wages, Sam feels the positive relationship between the staff and players is something The Bees can really use to their advantage.
“Dean Smith is great because his door is always open to speak to the players if there are any problems,” Sam told Bees Player. “Him, Richard O’Kelly, Simon Royce, the medical staff, and the support staff have all been brilliant. We all have the aim of being better than last year and we can only do that together, as one unit. We can’t do it as individuals and that goes for everyone including the fans. We are a small fish in a big league. We can’t compete with other clubs in terms of wages so we need to go down other routes and being together as one is something that will be helpful to us.”
The midfielder was speaking yesterday as the squad neared the end of a tough week of pre-season training at the WM Sporthotel in Germany. The renowned facility in the countryside outside Dortmund was Portugal’s training base for the 2006 World Cup and Sam described the week of work put in there as one of the hardest that he has ever done.
“The end of the season was positive and it has helped us to hit the ground running in pre-season because we have got a platform to build on now,” said Sam. “It has been one of the hardest pre-season’s that I can remember for a while. It has been a training camp, there is no doubt about that. It hasn’t been a holiday camp. It has been hard work. There have been two or three intense sessions a day and this afternoon was the first one that we have had off. It has been tough and everyone is looking forward to getting home after a tough week to recharge the batteries.”
The 32-year-old is Brentford’s longest serving player and is just four appearances away from his 200th in red and white stripes. During his time at Griffin Park, Sam has experienced the highs of promotion and the lows of long-term injuries and Play-Off final defeat, all experiences which he has tried to use to make him a better player and person.
“This is my eighth pre-season now with Brentford and I can’t believe that I am saying that,” said Sam. “It only feels like yesterday that I did my first one in Spain with Andy Scott. It has gone unbelievably quickly. There have been highs and lows but more highs than lows. Promotion was obviously a big one and even the Play-Off final that we lost was a massive learning point for me and a lot of the other lads even though it was a low. Sometimes you need those disappointments in your career to help you improve as a player and a person. A couple of injuries along the way have also helped me to become a better player off the pitch and know the game a bit better. Disappointments make you want to prove yourself again. I have probably being written off a few times but you have to believe in yourself and the gaffer gave me another opportunity. Hopefully I have repaid that and can continue to repay that this season.”