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New boss Canavan sets fitness goals

New Fermanagh manager Peter Canavan is placing strong emphasis on physical fitness as his side prepare for their opening Power NI Dr McKenna Cup tie against Antrim at Brewster Park, Enniskillen on Sunday.

No sooner had the close season ended than Canavan had his team in action in a challenge match against Monaghan at Clones and tonight he hopes to choose what will be his first line-up for a competitive game.

And having assessed his players in training, Canavan is convinced that speed, stamina and staying power will be essential if they are to make an impact in Section A of the McKenna Cup in which they are also due to meet Queen’s and Tyrone.

“Obviously Fermanagh do not have the playing resources that some other counties have so in order to counteract this, you have to train harder and get into the best possible shape,” insists Canavan.

“I have been pleased so far with the effort that the players are putting in but it’s what happens out on the pitch in games that really counts. The January programme of matches will help to tell us where we are at.”

Canavan’s obvious enthusiasm for his role and desire to see Fermanagh’s fortunes improve has helped to dispel the gloom and rancour of last season.

Indeed, there has been a huge groundswell of support for Canavan’s appointment within the county and it is expected that there will be a healthy attendance at Brewster Park for Sunday’s opener. But no one is more aware than Canavan that it will now be up to the team to maintain this support.

“People will want to see encouraging performances and that is understandable. We have to win over the supporters and the only way you can do that is by playing well. There is good enthusiasm within the squad and we hope to make headway,” adds Canavan.

Antrim manager Liam Bradley is anxious to bulk up the central spine of his side in particular so that their ball-winning capacity will be improved.

“We have several young fast players who are maybe slightly-built but we need to complement these with big, stronger guys to give us the right balance,” declares Bradley.

The Saffrons manager plans to give a number of players game time on Sunday and will focus strongly on the performance of his forwards as he steps up his quest for additional scoring power.

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