PETER Murphy is already known as the king of the late goals at Accrington Stanley, and the ambitious midfielder is now doing extra fitness work away from training in a bid to transform himself from ‘a Skoda to a Porsche’.
The midfielder is Stanley’s top scorer with nine goals this season – five of them coming in the final five minutes of matches – and boss James Beattie has already admitted that the Reds could struggle to hang on to the 24-year-old when his contract expires in the summer.
With Beattie’s permission, Murphy is now on a new fitness regime that sees him visit a personal trainer in Liverpool up to two times a week, on the advice of his management company.
“I’m going there on Tuesdays after training and on Wednesdays, at the Crowne Plaza in Liverpool,” said Murphy, who is expected to line up for Stanley at Burton Albion in League Two tomorrow.
“I’ve been doing it for five weeks now and it’s really helping me.
“I’m working on strength and conditioning, power, fitness, speed, everything really.
“I’ve always thought I was quite a fit lad but anything I can do can only help me, it can do no harm.
“The manager’s happy because it can only benefit me and my performances here.”
Murphy is one of a number of lower league players under the management of the Boss UK football agency who are undergoing the regime.
The Stanley ace’s agent Gareth Jones said: “We believe Peter is capable of getting into the Championship in the next six to 18 months.
“The Championship players are Porsches and Peter at the moment is a Skoda.
“Players in the lower leagues don’t have the same opportunities and I know that is down to resources and finances.
“They do some light ball work, a bit of aerobic work, they stand out in a field somewhere, they have something to eat and then they go home.
“If you look at the work someone like Cristiano Ronaldo will do, they are different worlds.
“It’s about finding that extra five per cent that could put an extra two zeros on Peter’s value.”
Murphy is working with fitness experts who have trained Premier League players.
“We’re working on core strength, on biomechanics and his gait, the way he runs,” Jones said.
“Peter is 6ft but he takes his shirt off and there’s nothing to him.
“We put him in the bod pod and his body fat was twice what it should be.
“That’s not because he’s overweight, because he’s not, but because he hasn’t got the lean muscle mass.
“To use the analogy of the car again, if the arms and the legs are the wheels, the car won’t go if the body’s made of jelly.
“You can’t change the driver but you can change the car.
“We’re working on nutrition with him, educating him.
“Not drinking is one thing.
“We had Peter in the lab running for 90 minutes and he lost two-and-a-half litres of fluid.
“You need to put one-and-a-half times back into your body what you lost.
“Maybe in the past to replace those four litres players might have drunk six pints! But that only compounds the problem.
“When scouts watch games they remember the last 20 minutes they see, so if you can be going stronger at the end it helps you.”
Piero Mingoia, who recently signed a new 18-month deal at Stanley, has also now joined the agency.
The Reds face a Burton side who sit fifth in League Two. Former Stanley duo Phil Edwards and Billy Kee could face their old club, while Michael Symes is also nearing fitness after a knee injury.
Stanley dropped to third bottom of the table after Tuesday’s 1-0 loss at Portsmouth but remain five points clear of the relegation zone.
Manager James Beattie, who turned 36 yesterday, hit out at a tackle by Romain Padovani at Fratton Park, which he felt could easily have ended with Murphy sustaining a broken leg.
“It was a bad one but thankfully I wasn’t seriously hurt,” Murphy said.
“It will be a tough game at Burton, and obviously we know Phil Edwards and Billy Kee so hopefully we can get one over on them rather than them getting one over on us.
“We’re not too worried at the moment, we’re five points from the relegation zone and five points from ninth place. If we can get a couple of wins now, who knows where it will take us?”
n Young Stanley forward Marcus Carver has undergone an operation after suffering from the rare ‘compartment syndrome’, where the blood supply to leg muscles and nerves is restricted.