Michael Woods has his “factor 50 at the ready” as Hartlepool United prepare to fly out to Tenerife.
Pools are less than 24 hours away from stage three of their pre-season programme when they jet off to the largest of the Canary Islands.
The squad returned to work a week last Wednesday while a large first-team group were in action today at Billingham Town in the opening friendly match.
But tomorrow marks a step up in the preparations with a week-long training camp at La Caleta.
Pools will be at a state-of the-art complex in the south of Tenerife previously used by the likes of Liverpool and Man City.
Boss Craig Hignett will take a party of 24 players and eight staff with quality and quantity the watchwords.
Twelve months ago, on the recommendation of head physio Ian Gallagher, then Pools boss Ronnie Moore took the players off to a punishing camp ran by the Army in North Yorkshire.
“It’s going to be a little bit different,” smiled Woods.
“I have my factor 50 at the ready, I’m not really a man for the sun!
“It will be good to get all the lads together. The work we do at La Caleta will be important but so too will be the time we get to know one another.
“Tenerife is going to be good and the gaffer will be drumming into us how he wants us to play.
“While it’s going to be a little different to last year, no-one can say Catterick was bad.
“A lot of the work was incredibly tough and we did a lot of long runs without the ball and, of course, the assault course!
“But we went and won the first four games of the season from there, so Catterick was good for us.
“A pre-season camp is vital, you spend a week living in each other’s pockets, it gives the lads a great to chance to bond.
“But, more importantly, get the work done.”
Woods is getting ready for his third campaign at the League Two club.
The 26-year-old was a shrewd signed by Colin Cooper on the eve of the 2014-15 season and showed his best form last term, when he teamed up with Nicky Featherstone and Lewis Hawkins in the middle of the park.
Woods played 37 times, the former Chelsea midfielder scoring three goals, and he will be favourite to start the season in there on August 6 against Colchester United.
“Me, Nicky and Hawksy had a good understanding, that was a trio I really enjoyed being a part of,” said the Yorkshireman.
Woods pointed out that there will be competition for places this season after Hignett signed four players, forward Lewis Alessandra, goal ace Padraig Amond, attacking midfielder Nicky Deverdics and defender Toto Nsalia.
“Now Nicky’s come in and Padraig and Alessandra, there is competition for places, he added.
“That is going to be important for the squad.”