Birmingham City boss Lee Bowyer has stressed the importance of his squad building up fitness ahead of the new season.
Bowyer is preparing for his first full season in charge at St Andrew’s after arriving in March to save the club he made 94 appearances for as a player from Championship relegation in the 2020/21 season.
Blues get their league campaign underway with a trip to Sheffield United on August 7th.
Beforehand they are taking on Cheltenham Town, AFC Barrow, Oxford United, West Bromwich Albion and Northampton Town in a packed pre-season schedule.
Speaking to the club’s website ahead of Saturday’s fixture against League One Cheltenham, the former Charlton boss made made it clear that the result of the game does not matter.
He said: “It is our first game and we hope that we come through it unscathed. The score is not important to me, it is about getting the minutes, the fitness and, hopefully, no injuries.
“We need to get all the games and the minutes that we need under our belt to prepare for Sheffield United – that is the one that I am looking at.
“We are not in a bad place at the moment. At the end of last season, I didn’t think I needed to tweak too much. We lost a few players in the summer as every club does and I am trying to put my own little stamp on things.”
Bowyer lost only three of his 10 games in charge at the end of last season to help keep Birmingham in the second tier, so there can be little surprise that he is only looking to make minor alterations rather than wholesale changes.
Playing down the importance of results in pre-season may also be a smart move given the number of times strong showings in friendly matches have failed to translate into a good start to a league campaign.