Jake Sheridan predicts fitness will be key to Lincoln City's promotion push
Jake Sheridan has revealed super sharp fitness and an impregnable team spirit will see Lincoln City produce a vastly-improved campaign.
The former Notts County midfielder believes the Imps can contend for the Blue Square Bet Premier promotion spots but that consistency is the aim of the game following two torrid years for the club's supporters.
The players have been back in pre-season training for the best part of a week and Sheridan says fitness levels are already soaring.
"I am always a bit nervous ahead of that first lot of running in pre-season but it has gone well," said the 25-year-old.
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"It is well known that Lincoln no longer have a big budget to play with but my view is that team spirit and good fitness levels more than make up for that.
"When you have those two qualities, the budget is not essential. It's not all about money.
"Our aim is to be the fittest side in the division. If we do that then we have won half the battle. The fitter you are physically, the fitter you become mentally late on in games as well. So far we have been doing running, running and more running.
"We have done a bit of spinning in the gym too.
"The ball has also come out a few times and that has kept it interesting.
"The new players have settled in very well and we can't wait to get going – there is a real buzz around the place."
The ex-Eastwood Town and Tamworth man revealed Imps chief David Holdsworth played a key factor in him signing a one-year deal with the club at the end of last term.
"David is a great manager and he makes a player feel wanted," he continued. "He showed faith in me and I want to repay him.
"He has said he wants me to score a few more goals from midfield and that's the aim next season.
"I remember last season when my son Theo was born premature. He was hospitalised for four weeks and Dave was so understanding and gave me time off.
"It's that kind of thing that makes an impression on a player and makes you want to play for the manager.
"The backroom staff were always asking how the baby was and that tells you a lot about the club."
After only just escaping relegation last season, Imps fans will appreciate a solid campaign this time around.
"Lincoln City are a big football club and if we start winning a few matches then there is the fanbase for big crowds.
"We will want to go into every game looking to win it, so who knows, after Christmas, we may be in a position where we can challenge.
"But a solid, consistent season, with a decent cup run in between, would be great. We need to do something for the fans to get excited again.
"We don't want to go into the season saying we will settle for mid-table because we have a good bunch of players with a very determined manager.
"Winning breeds confidence and we can go as far as we want if we put our minds to it.
"For me, I just want to repay the manager for putting faith in me by being a regular starter and scoring or assisting with as many goals as I can."