Bridges enjoying pre-season grind

He may be entering the 17th pre-season of his career, but Michael Bridges says he is as excited as ever to be back in training.

He may be entering his 17th pre-season as a professional footballer, but Hunter Ports Newcastle Jets forward Michael Bridges says he is as excited as ever to be back in training.

The former Premier League striker is entering into his fourth season with the Jets after finishing the 2012/13 campaign strongly.

“It-s great to back here with the boys and back training,” Bridges said.

"We had a good break and it-s just great to be back playing football and getting into the swing of things

“The body has been feeling great for these first three weeks. There-s four months to go before the start of the A-League and we want to be right on schedule to make sure we-re flying for the first game of the season.”

At 34 years of age, Bridges is well aware of the importance of properly managing his workload during a gruelling pre-season training schedule.

“It-s my 17th pre-season, which is incredible,” Bridges said.

“After that long, you know your body well enough that if you-re feeling something you step aside because you don-t want to get injured.

“I-ll gauge it along with the new Strength and Conditioning coach, which will give us a pretty good idea of where we-re going to go and how we analyse that.”

With the Jets- first match of the pre-season taking place next week against Newcastle University FC at Ulinga Oval, Bridges said he was looking forward to breaking up the grind of daily training sessions with some games.

“That-s what it-s about. It-s all well and good training, but if there-s no light at the end of the tunnel in the form of some games it can become a bit repetitive,” Bridges said.

“It-s refreshing to see that we-ve got some games coming up now, because it-s a great way to build your fitness. You can do as much training as you like, but there-s nothing like matches."

The Jets friendly matches scheduled against Clubs from the Zone Premier League, NBN State League as well as an NBN State League Select side.

Bridges said he is looking forward to coming up against the local opposition over the next two months.

“The good thing about playing these local teams is that we-re getting out in the community more, which is great for the Jets and great for football in Newcastle,” Bridges said.

“We-re gradually working our way up to A-League opposition this pre-season and this is a good way to get started.”