Marlon Pack discusses the training camp in Wales, white water rafting and the new kitIt's been a week of sun, bonding and hard, hard training sessions for the Robins as they enjoyed the fantastic setup of the University of Glamorgan in Wales.
A more settled squad were able to enjoy the gruelling fitness work put together by Jason Murphy and the backroom staff in an effort to reach full fitness by the time the 2012-13 campaign kicks off. That fitness work paid dividends last season with the Robins reaching Wembley and expectations are high for another strong season.
Despite a lot of hard work, the players have enjoyed themselves and Marlon Pack believes the camp has been just what the squad needs.
"It has gone really well and it's a great chance to get to know the new boys a little better," he said.
"The training pitches are great here and obviously white water rafting was an experience too! It's kind of nice to break things up in pre-season because the work can sometimes get a little repetitive. It is a more settled squad this season with just Billy and Sam being the new boys but the trialists have settled in as well and have become one of the boys already. We've got a good bunch of lads here and well all get on well."
White water rafting was the order of the day on Wednesday evening following the 1-1 draw with Port Talbot the evening before.
The experience proved fun for everyone but Marlon revealed that one member of the squad did manage to fall in much to the amusement of his team-mates.
"Joe Hanks fell in and that was the funniest thing we've seen for a while, bless him," he laughed.
"We got told we were going for a cooldown session! It was a really good laugh and it was good to see what the club was doing for the Olympics. The USA and Russian teams had been training there and the experience was a good one.
The first home game of this pre-season is this weekend with Birmingham City set to bring a strong squad to the Abbey Business Stadium and more than 1,000 supporters. It will also be the first time that Cheltenham would have played in the brand new 2012-13 home kit which was revealed on Wednesday.
Marlon was one of our models for the official photoshoot alongside team captain Alan Bennett and the young midfielder has admitted that he's a big fan of the new design.
"I'm a big fan of it to be honest," said Marlon.
"I'm not just saying it - I really like it. It's a unique design and I think the fans are going to love it. It's going to look good when we play Birmingham this weekend!"
You can watch Marlon and the Robins take on a strong Birmingham City side here at the Abbey Business Stadium tomorrow afternoon (3pm) with prices set at £10 (adults) and £5 (concessions/juniors). The 2012-13 home strip will be available to purchase after the game from the club shop and online on www.ctfc.com.