By Anthony Marshall - Newcastle United Club Reporter
A football club is so much more than just a squad of players, and never is that truer than during the month of July as pre-season training gets underway.
Newcastle's medical staff have spent the first few days of this week fitness testing and power profiling the returning players in small groups, before they join up as a full party on Thursday.
And sports scientist Jamie Harley explained exactly what his part in the process has been.
"The players have been doing a running test which is two five-minutes of running, and in between each one they will have a blood sample taken out of their ear," he told nufcTV.
"Basically, it gives us an idea of their aerobic fitness and how they have de-conditioned or conditioned over the summer and what we can do over the pre-season to get them right for the start of the season.
"Every player did this at the start of last year, all the way through the season, during rehab, and they will all do it during the season this year too. It lets us keep on top of them."
With a busy season ahead, including European football for the first time in five years, it will mean more games and therefore greater physical exertion on the players.
And Harley told nufcTV that it will be a real team effort in making sure manager Alan Pardew has a full squad to select from each week.
"They (the players) were all given an off-season programme, and I know there has been regular contact with the players to make sure they are keeping on top of it," he said.
"We are going to be having two games a week a lot more times than we did last season, so recovery and fitness is the key and keeping on top of every player.
"All the backroom staff have a role to play in that, and it is vitally important this year."
To watch the full interview and see more about the players' return to pre-season training, click on the button below
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