New arrival Nicky Adams barely had time to recover before we pounced to get his reaction to a tough first day back on Thursday, but he was quick to point out that things were looking good following what was a gruelling session.
“That was a tough day,” he agreed. “We really had to go at it but we all came back in good condition and I think the gaffer was pleased with that.
“We’re given training programmes for the summer but it’s always difficult to replicate the intensity. You’re on your own so it’s tough mentally. You want to spend a bit of time with your family and a few of us only got back from our holidays on Wednesday.
“I must admit I was hoping it would be a light session because of that, but we sort of got the heads-up that it was going to be a tough day. You have to make sure you get your head round that, and it does help when you get with the group because you all know you’re going to work hard and you help each other to get through.”
“It’s good to be back because this is what we want to be doing when it comes down to it,” he said. “The next few weeks will be tough but doing it right helps you for the rest of the season. That’s why it’s been a good start to it all.
“There are two types of fitness we have to work on and we’re definitely doing that. There’s the base fitness from the sessions you do, but you also get fit by playing football. It’s been good here because all I’ve done on the first day for the last few years have been tests, and that’s been it.
“We’ve really dug into it here and I think that will stand us in good stead. We’ve had some tough sessions and we’ve had periods where we’ve used a ball as well, and that’s good to help to dust the cobwebs off.”
On meeting his new team mates, he said: “I know a few of the lads anyway but it’s been nice to meet everyone. We’ve all been chatting about different things and it’s good to get a feel for what they’re all about.
“It’s a great set-up here and the facilities are fantastic. Everything is on site for us and I’m really looking forward to getting on with it now.”
And the work done now, of course, is all with the opening day trip to Portsmouth in mind at the beginning of August.
“My mate plays for Pompey and he texted me as soon as the fixtures were out,” he told us. “I didn’t know we were going there until I got his text, because I was away on holiday, so all I could do was reply and say ‘see you down there.’
“It’s a great opening day game because the atmosphere there is incredible. It’s a tough start to the season for us but no game is easy in this league, so I think it’s a run of games we’ll relish.
“We want to start well and the key to it, from my experience over the last couple of years, is that we stay in the mix early on. Nothing is won or lost in the first few months but if you get a good base to work from, and stay competitive, it does stand you in good stead.”