Nichols: “This is when it all starts to get a bit real”

Forward gives reaction after fixture release

Grecians striker Tom Nichols feels that Wednesday morning’s fixture list release brought with it an air of reality that the new season is approaching quickly.

Nichols, who won the club’s Golden Boot last year by finding the net 15 times, is particularly pleased that the campaign kicks off with a home derby fixture against Yeovil Town.

It is the fourth time in as many years that City have played host on the opening weekend – the last two in particular have been big affairs, with Bristol Rovers and Portsmouth the visitors on those occasions.
“This is when it all starts to get a bit real, now that you see the fixtures and you know who you’re playing,” explained Nichols.

“The fixtures bring more of a reality to it.  We’ll look forward to Yeovil on the first day of the season – that’s a great game to get us underway.  It’s a local one and they’ll bring a few fans, so I’m really looking forward to it.

“We’ve had some good opening fixtures in the last couple of years.  We’ve had some big games for the fans, and it’s nice to get going with a home tie.

“I also looked for the derby games against Plymouth straight away – home or away, it’s always a good game.  We weren’t quite ready to play them when we met at the start of last season and we got beaten quite well.  But I’m sure we’ll be much better prepared this year.

“There is a really good vibe around the camp at the moment.  We’ve had a few players sign on, and we’ve got a few more to come I think as well.  There is a lot of optimism around at the club.

“Hopefully we can put a good show on for the crowd and put three points on the board nice and early.  We need to hit the ground running.”

Like the rest of the squad he has been keeping himself trim over the break and getting ready to be fit and ready when the pre-season programme begins in less than a fortnight.

And while Tom has enjoyed a bit of a respite from match action, he is raring to get started when the season kicks off in August.

“I’ve enjoyed my summer, but I am more than ready to get back to it now,” he continued.  “We’ve been training a lot over the summer – we’ve had two sessions a week and I’ve been doing my own training as well.

“In this day and age, you can’t come back unfit – you’ve got to keep yourself ticking over.  We’ve got a game really soon into pre-season [against East Fife], and that’s not waiting for anyone.

“We’ve got to be fit and ready to play.  And the more work you do on fitness over the summer, the less difficult that makes pre-season.  Everyone has been working hard and all the boys are in good shape.

“I like playing at the start of the season, because the pitches are nice and the weather is usually great.

“But pre-season doesn’t include competitive fixtures – and you can’t beat a competitive fixture.  Every pre-season game that we’ll play is a game ticked off, and a step closer to the start of the season.”

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