As phrases go to describe the mindset required to successfully negotiate an intense – and often attritional – nine-month test of endurance in League Two, the above statement from Bradford City manager Derek Adams is pretty succinct.
City have already clocked up over 1,700 miles in five road journeys in the league so far this term and following dates at Exeter City, Leyton Orient and Crawley Town, Adams’s side now face a 450-mile round-trip to South Wales.
After that, their next away destination is also a lengthy one, to Swindon Town.
Given the sides who he has previously managed, it is part of the territory for Adams. He is not the sort of manager to tolerate soft excuses and his answer when talk turns to City’s testing schedule so far is to the point.
He observed: “I have been manager at Plymouth Argyle and Ross County and people talk about long trips; they have no idea about what a long trip is. A trip is a trip and a game and we get on with it.
“The only change is that the weak change, the strongest survive.”
City are approaching the time of the year when the nights are drawing in and mentality and attitude is often tested.
It is coming up to the time of season when fitness, resolve, persistence and togetherness often gets you over the line and is just as important as proficiency as sides get ready for the autumn and winter slog when results and not necessarily performances are king.
With perhaps that in mind, Adams is demanding more from his players in training ahead of the battles to come.
The Scot, whose side registered their first win in eight matches in all competitions last weekend and have had a full working week to prepare for today’s game, commented: “I have been in long enough now and sat down with the sports scientist department and showed them what happened at Morecambe and the lows that we had there and here and explained to them that we need to get to the same levels as we had before (at Morecambe).
“They have all taken that on board and will continue to work harder than we are doing and have been doing.
“The fitter you are, the longer you are going to stay fit.
“You have got to get to a situation where you are working hard in the training field to get that level so you are able to repeat and repeat. That is the nature of the game and if you cannot do that, you cannot be a professional athlete.”
Niall Canavan, Lee Angol and Caolan Lavery remain sidelined for City, but Abo Eisa returned to training on Thursday for the first time in a number of weeks.
Eisa will not feature today, but Adams is hopeful that he will be back in the fray ‘sooner rather than later’.
Last six games: Newport DDLWLW; Bradford City DLDLLW.
Referee: S Purkiss (London).
Last time: Newport 2 Bradford City 1, March 9, 2021; League Two.