VIDEO: Fitness comes first for Pritchard as Huddersfield Town stay cool

HUDDERSFIELD TOWN playmaker Alex Pritchard believes the intense focus on fitness by David Wagner during pre-season will help ensure there is no repeat of his injury frustration from a year ago.

The 25-year-old, a hugely influential figure in the Terriers staying up after joining in January for £10m, missed the first 16 weeks of last season for Norwich City. An ankle injury that required surgery was the cause, Pritchard having been stretchered off during a friendly against Cambridge United.

It was the midfielder’s second lengthy absence after also requiring ankle surgery when injured on international duty with the England Under-21s at the European Championships in June, 2015.

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“Pre-season has been really good,” said Pritchard, in Austria this week with the rest of the Huddersfield squad, to The Yorkshire Post.

Huddersfield Town's Alex Pritchard (right) competing with Leighton Baines of Everton last year is relishing a first pre-season under David Wagner (Picture: PA)

“Tough at times with the games and training the same day. But the work has been good.

“All clubs are different. Here, it is more about building into your fitness. Other clubs I have been at have been more about going straight into the hard work.

“But this has been good for me. A lot of the work is precautionary, to prevent injuries. By building up your fitness, you are more protected.

“I have been at clubs where you do the hard work straight away without the preparations we are doing and that leads to injuries. This way is much better for me.”

Huddersfield Town's Alex Pritchard celebrates a victory last season with manager David Wagner

Huddersfield’s preparations for the new Premier League season will be honed this week via the club’s final two friendlies of the summer.

The first of those is against Serie A side Bologna in Brixen im Thale on Tuesday tea-time. Around 100 Town fans are understood to have made the trip with more expected ahead of Friday’s friendly with RB Leipzig in Schwaz.

Erik Durm, the only one of the club’s five new signings yet to feature in pre-season, has travelled to Austria and will play in one of the games.

Likewise Juninho Bacuna, who has resumed full training after suffering a twisted knee against Bury on July 10.

Mathias ‘Zanka’ Jorgensen and Jonas Lossl, Town’s Danish international duo, will make their first appearances of pre-season after being granted an extended holiday following the World Cup.

Lossl is clearly happy to be back, the goalkeeper leading the way yesterday when some of the Town squad opted to cool down in the baking temperatures by diving head first into the lake that laps at the shore of the club’s training base in Brixem.

“Getting ready for Tokyo 2020,” was the Dane’s verdict on his effort, which was admittedly superior to those of Ben Hamer and Pritchard.