Hatters midfielder Alan McCormack isn’t going the extra mile in his training regime as he looks to play a big part in Town’s run-in this season.
The 35-year-old couldn’t displace Glen Rea during the first half of the campaign, with the former Brighton player excelling, given the added responsibility of the captain’s armband as well.
I literally went through everything and had a look at what I could change, what could give me an extra 10 per cent and fitness and then it was the extra 20, 30 per cent, then I’ll keep doing it until I call time.Alan McCormack
However, when Rea picked up a serious knee injury in the win over Burton on December 22, McCormack was back into the starting line-up two games later at Walsall, going on to start the last 13 matches.
He had avoided any of the calf problems that dogged his previous season, although did pick up a slight hamstring strain in Tuesday night’s 1-0 win at Bradford City, making him a doubt for this weekend’s clash with Gillingham.
Before that though, McCormack explained how he had altered his training programme to stay as fit as possible, saying: “I’ve changed a lot of things and sacrificed a few things.
“I think I’m working quite hard, I’m not out doing extra running all the time, I’m wary of the mileage I do during the week.
“As we did notice that any time I’d break down, we’d look through my numbers of that week, during the week and all the times I broke down was because I over-trained Thursday and Friday, so I didn’t allow myself the chance to recover for Saturday.
“Consciously I’ve become very aware of that and making sure that I know my limits, how far to push, but then when to ease off.”
It’s not just the running that McCormack has changed as well, saying: “I do Pilates twice a week now and that’s had a huge benefit for me.
“I’m feeling great for that, I’m feeling strong, just little gym programmes, diet off the pitch, just loads of little things.
“I’m a big believer in you cut out the little mistakes on the football pitch, you cut out the big mistakes off the pitch.
“You cut out the little tiny negative things, whether it be boozing on a Saturday night or golfing on a Wednesday, all of that, is cut out.
“Not that I do anyway, I’ve got two young kids, so I don’t go out Saturday nights, but there’s loads of little things that you do that might have an impact.
“I literally went through everything and had a look at what I could change, what could give me an extra 10 per cent and fitness and then it was the extra 20, 30 per cent, then I’ll keep doing it until I call time.”
When given the call to replace Rea, McCormack wanted to make sure there would be no change in the level of performance from what Town had come to expect at the base of the diamond.
He continued: “I said it from the start, me and Sheez (Alan Sheehan) speak, we’re close.
“Every game when we were on the bench, always sitting next to each other, discussing the game, discussing how we were, and after games, going running.
“Sunday mornings you’re out running the roads on your own, got to do your running sessions and they’re lonely places and hard places.
“But experience tells you that it doesn’t always last forever, you won’t always be on the bench, you’ll never not play again, you’ve got to be very, very unlucky for that to happen.
“So for me it was patience, unfortunately for me, but fortunately for the football club, Glen was absolutely superb.
“I’d not go into the manager and say, ‘listen I should be in the team,’ that was the way it was and I accepted it, I respected it and just made sure that if anything did happen, I was ready.
“I did not want to come into this team and let anybody down from being unfit or not having the right attitude or just not being the way we are as a club and the way the dressing room is, I didn’t want that to happen.
“So I made sure that when I did come in and get a chance, that I was going to be ready and make sure it was very tough to take the jersey back off me.”
Defender Sonny Bradley has been impressed by the manner in which McCormack has performed since his recall, adding: “Macca’s been brilliant, a proper, proper professional. He does his stuff, he knows what he’s doing, and even when Glen was playing, Macca was ready, but he’s stepped up, that little bit of experience has helped us as well towards the end of games.
“He’s helped us with the game management side a lot, and he’s a massive voice in the dressing room.
“We’re definitely happy to have Macca on our side, because I’ve seen the way he is with the opposition and I wouldn’t fancy being on the opposition to be honest.”