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University kicks off preseason training for League One club


Preseason training for Sky Bet League One contenders Morecambe FC has kicked off at the University of Cumbria (Lancaster). 

The Shrimps’ first-team squad members have spent their first day back for preseason training at the Bowerham Road campus of the university. 

Led by lecturer Xavier Smith and colleagues within the university’s Institute of Health, undergraduate students on the BSc (Hons) Sport Rehabilitation degree programme put the professional footballers through a series of human performance tests and training activities. 

Kathryn Wain, principal lecturer for sport at the University of Cumbria, said: “We have got some new and up to date equipment and facilities that our students learn how to use whilst they are here, enabling them to go on into careers and the wider world after graduating. As well as teaching, we also use our equipment and facilities for research and supporting professional and elite athletes outwith of our university. 

“Our university is about people, places and community and we want to do what we can to benefit the community we’re in, so it’s fantastic that Morecambe FC – just a few miles from our Lancaster campus - bring their professional and elite athletes here to use our facilities and expertise. It also provides valuable learning opportunities and practical experiences for our students.” 

Describing facilities at the university as ‘first class’, John McMahon, The Shrimps’ assistant manager, said: “The lads have come in and physically they’re looking in good shape. Preseason is all about preparation and being the best you can be; and the big message [to players] has been to take ownership of yourself. Doing this helps you grow, the team grow and the club grow.” 

Visitors from Morecambe FC included University of Cumbria alumnus Olly Howse, who studied in Carlisle and graduated from the sport rehabilitation programme in 2015. 

The club’s performance therapist Olly said: “I enjoyed my time at university. The learning environment was good, classes were quite small and some of the placement experiences were really good in helping me with my career. I came to Morecambe FC for a season. I also went to Newcastle and got to work in a private clinic with Steve Cram and some professional GB athletes.” 

Morecambe FC kick off their 2022/23 Sky Bet League One campaign against at home at the Mazuma Stadium on Saturday 30 July, where they will take on Shrewsbury. The squad’s full list of fixtures for the new season can be found here.  

The University of Cumbria’s Sport Rehabilitation and Sport, Coaching and Physical Education courses are accredited by CIMSPA (Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity) and Sport Rehabilitation is also accredited by BASRaT (British Association of Sport Rehabilitators and Trainers). 

Watch the squad’s pre-season training here.  

Watch Olly Howse discuss his university experience, including career-enhancing practical, professional placements. 


1. University of Cumbria sport staff and students at the Lancaster campus with first-team players and backroom staff at Morecambe FC, June 2022

2. Sport rehabilitation lecturer Xavier Smith (seated) and graduating student Bryony Sharp put players through tests at the University of Cumbria's Lancaster campus as the first team squad begins 2022/23 preseason training