One of the themes in the first week of pre-season has been the boundless energy of 19-year-old Tim Chow, whose performances at Christopher Park so far have set the bar high for both the young and senior members of the squad.
Fitness tests and long distance running have been mixed with ball-work over the past five days, but as Chow explained it’s a part of the season he looks forward to every year, especially after recovering from a fractured metatarsal towards the end of the last campaign:
“I’ve always been a strong runner,” he said, “and over the summer I did some leg-strength exercises to bring that on even more.
“When I was in school I loved the long-distance races and cross country running. I was pretty good as well, competing at Robin Park most of the time and winning my races throughout high school.
“So I love the pre-season period, but to come back after that injury and have a ball at my feet again is an ever greater feeling and I’m really enjoying the work we’re doing.
“I always look after myself in terms of the work I do and the food I eat, being careful to make sure I can be as fit as possible. But the injury I suffered made me even more determined to come back stronger in time for pre-season and so far it’s going really well.”
Working under a new manager this season, Chow hopes to get the chance to impress the man in charge and if an opportunity does come his way it’s one he won’t want to pass up:
“He spoke about his plans for the club and his intentions for the young players here, which was really exciting to hear.
“He’s got a great record when it comes to nurturing young talent, and he basically said that if you’re good enough you’ll get a chance which is what you want to hear.
“I’m hoping this season is the one when I get my chance. I’ve been working really hard and under the new manager I believe that if I keep working hard then that opportunity will come and when it does I’ll be desperate to take it.
“This week all the young lads from the Youth Team and Development Team have been training with the senior players, whereas in the past those groups were kept separate, with the intentions of making it an aspiration to get into the first team group.
“But for me personally, I believe that the senior players bring out the best in us young players, learning from their ability and their attitude to the work.
“The better the player you work with the better player you become – I believe that strongly. What it also does is give you a hunger to be working with them all the time, and realise the standard you have to reach if you’re going to be successful.”