Nico will Aaltonen of his training regime

Wednesday, 5th August 2015

Nico Aaltonen has spent just one week away from the gym this summer, as he prepares for his English Premier League debut with The Phoenix.

The 27-year-old Finn is Tony Hand’s latest summer capture, with all eyes on a Manchester squad that is set to feature four import forwards.

That line-up - which already includes Robin Kovar and NHL draft pick Stanislav Gron – is widely expected to be one of the most potent in the EPL.

And with less than a month to go until the first pre-season friendlies, Aaltonen is stepping up a fitness regime that has run throughout the summer.

He said: “I am really looking forward to playing with The Phoenix and the start of the season can’t come soon enough for me.

“I’ve played a couple of games, and had a week’s holiday in Spain, but the rest of the time has been spent training. I always like to be in the best possible shape for the first game.

“I spoke to a few friends in Finland about the British league, and they said it is a good standard. One of the things was that I should be fit from the very start.

“I have a strict regime for summer training and this year has been no different. Deeside Ice Rink has an Olympic-sized pad, which I want to use to my benefit.”

Aaltonen’s career has already seen him play 199 games at the top level in Finland – a pedigree that will mark the forward out as one to watch in the EPL.

He added: “Winning the championship in Finland was a crazy experience, and one I want to repeat with The Phoenix next season. From what Tony Hand has told me, the fans are just as crazy over in the UK!

“That is something I am really looking forward to – a loud rink, with fans who are completely behind the team. If we can get that, then anything can happen.”

Phoenix owner, Neil Morris, believes Aaltonen’s fitness could prove to be crucial next season.

He said: “The fact that Nico has spent most of the summer in the gym says a lot about Tony’s team-building plans.

“He is going for a fast, skillful side that will score plenty of goals. The bigger ice surface at Deeside will certainly work in our favour.

“I am looking forward to seeing who else our coach brings in, as we prepare for a massive season at this club.”