LOVE Island has helped Stanley’s players forget the aches and pains of pre-season and prepare for French giants Marseille in an Oxfordshire army camp.

John Coleman’s side were whisked away to the Dalton Barracks in Abingdon to be put through their paces by the Royal Logistics Corps last week – but still found time to put their feet up in the evening and catch up with a bit of reality TV.

Stanley face Marseille in a prestige friendly tonight at the AJ Bell Stadium in Salford, having lost 1-0 to Sligo Rovers in Ireland on Monday in their first outing of the summer.

Joe Pritchard, the former Bolton Wanderers midfielder who is currently the Reds’ only new signing, says the military experience was an eye-opener.

“It’s been great to get stuck in,” he said.

“It’s something I have never done before, so for me I didn’t know at first what to expect.

“I was excited for the opportunity to see what it would be like but I’m definitely glad to be back.

“You are working muscle groups that you didn’t even know you had.

“It’s definitely the best way to fit in when you are away with the lads, non-stop.

“We’ve had a few evenings with the boys, up watching Love Island and stuff like that, so it’s easy to get along with people.

“They’ve made me feel welcome and it’s good to get the group together.”

Coleman is on the lookout for up to eight new arrivals this summer and says he is in negotiation with “four or five” different clubs to bring in some fresh blood.

The manager is looking to the loan market and has prioritised a left-back and a striker as he looks to build on last season’s encouraging 14th placed finish in League One.

Pritchard, the 22-year-old former Tottenham youth teamer, says a few days away with the team have helped him settle into new surroundings.

“It’s always something to think about when you go somewhere new,” he told BBC Radio


“I’d only met the manager before I came in – so first day of pre-season I didn’t know anyone.

“Once you start kicking a ball around and they realise that you can do a few good things they get to know you more. It all kicks off from there.”