Gray back in the habit of scoring

Striker Andre Gray is glad to be getting back in to the habit of scoring goals ahead of the Premier League campaign.

Friday, 22nd July 2016, 8:30 am
Updated Thursday, 25th August 2016, 7:07 pm
Action and stock from Morecambe v Burnley pre-season friendly, at the Globe Arena. Burnley's Andre Gray shields the ball. PIC BY ROB LOCK 19-7-2016

The Clarets’ record signing, who topped the Championship charts with 25 goals last term, has found the net twice in pre-season so far with the opener against FC Stade Nyonnais and the equaliser against Morecambe at the Globe Arena.

While Gray, who was inducted in to the PFA Team of the Year last season, openly admits that his goals have very little value at this stage of the season, the £6m man is determined to score at every given opportunity regardless of how important the fixture is.

“I always want to score whether it’s a friendly or in training,” he said. “It’s a good habit but obviously these don’t mean anything. I’m getting that feeling back, I’ve got two now, but it’s all about match fitness and getting ready for the Premier League.

“I’ve gone seasons where I haven’t scored in pre-season and gone on to score 30 in non league so I don’t really see it as anything. It’s just something I always want to do really. I always want to score goals.”

Meanwhile, Burnley’s punishing pre-season fitness regime appears to be paying off for the 25-year-old frontman following claims that he’s feeling as fit as he’s ever been in his career at this stage.

Having endured endless drills since reporting back for duty at the Barnfield Training Centre at the beginning of the month, Gray has gone on to play a total of 90 minutes in friendlies.

Now the striker wants to step that up again ahead of games with Bradford City and Bolton Wanderers within the next week.

“It’s not easy in pre-season because we’re here to work so it’s all part and parcel of it,” said Gray.

“The first two weeks are probably the most difficult and we’ve got them out of the way now. We’re in to the thick of the games and hopefully we can all start stepping up the minutes and get match fit.

“I’m good and it’s probably the fittest I’ve ever been in pre-season. I feel like I’m getting stronger and stronger. It’s not all about fitness in the Premier League but it stands you in good stead and I feel like I’m the fittest I’ve been throughout my career.

“Fitness doesn’t guarantee you anything but it’s a big stepping stone. The level is completely different up there so we need to be fitter than what we were last season. Hopefully I can keep getting fitter. It’s a good start.”

He added: “The gaffer told me that I need to come back fit and I admitted that I could be fitter with the way I play. I’m an explosive player so if I can keep doing that throughout the whole game then it can only help me.

“There’s nothing too extreme but we’re all professionals at the end of the day and we’ve got to look after our bodies.

“We’re all flying and we’re all doing well throughout our fitness programmes. We’re a fit team and I’m sure that will show again next season.”