Chelsea left-back Cole aiming for more game time during pre-season

The 31 year-old left-back enjoyed a successful season with the club last year, but has stated he needs more action in his bid to return to full fitness ahead of the new campaign
Chelsea defender Ashley Cole has targeted more time on the pitch during pre-season in an attempt to regain his fitness ahead of the new Premier League season.

Having returned to the club later due to his exertions with England at Euro 2012, Cole believes an extended run-out in the pre-season game against Brighton would do him the world of good as he steps up his own preparations for the new season.

"I feel good to be back in England, I don't think I am 100 per cent sharp yet, I am probably behind some of the lads by about 10 days so there is catching up to do," Cole told the club's official website.

"I feel sharp in the little closing down runs but the longer runs feel a lot harder, especially when you're trying to repeat them for a longer period, which is what I do in my game, but that will come.

"It's something that only match practice can really fix, you can train as hard as you like, pre-season is a bit like coming back from an injury, but you need the minutes in a game to get your full fitness.

"I don't think anyone is ever at peak fitness at the start of a season, you feel your way into it.

"I've not played 90 minutes yet this pre-season, so hopefully that will come on Saturday at Brighton, where we have a lot of fans travelling and it will be the first chance for a lot of them to get a look at us."

The 31-year-old is already looking forward to the season's curtain-raiser, the Community Shield game against league winners Manchester City, but has warned against expecting too much so soon into the new campaign.

"Then after that it's the Community Shield, which everyone loves to win to kick off the season, but sometimes people can get carried away with it and think it's an indicator of what is to come, but it doesn't work like that," he added.

"It's a friendly game really, albeit one that you obviously want to win."