Team captain on the season ahead
Midfielder Paul Thirlwell is in his sixth year of pre-season training regimes at Brunton Park having signed his first permanent contract with the club back in January 2007.
We caught up with him on Monday morning to get his thoughts on how things are going this time round.
He said: "Everyone has come back in really good condition again this year, but you expect that. Nobody comes into work a stone heavier any more, like in the good old days, so we were all ready for it from day one.
"I've done a few of these at this club now but it doesn't get any easier. In fact, it probably gets harder. The gaffer always puts a good programme together and, even though it's early days, I think we can see it all coming together on the pitch at the moment."
"I suppose the extra responsibility with being team captain comes off the pitch," he added. "I'm a bit of a go-between from the players to the management staff in many ways but the lads tend to look after themselves anyway. The fine system has caught a few of the new lads out but that's always the way and it's something which benefits us all in the long run."
And with another good team performance against SPL side St Mirren under the squad belt there's a feeling that confidence is growing as the weeks go by.
"The games before Friday were really good work-outs for us but we all knew, on paper, that was going to be the toughest so far," he admitted. "We were pleased with it because we looked fit and we played our game. I think the gaffer was happy because the things we'd been doing on the training pitch came off for us, and that shows we're starting to pull together and get to where we want to be."
"Things start to come into focus now that we're heading into August," he said. "The squad is as strong as it's ever been and the first game comes around quickly. The way we've come back has added a bit of excitement around the place and I think we all just want to get out there and push on now."
United Player subscribers can see a video interview with Paul Thirlwell later today. For more information on United Player, and to subscribe, click HERE.