ALAN Irvine has spelled out his targets for the first week of pre-season training and explained the absence of a trio of his new charges.
The head coach met with his squad for the first time yesterday when the players reported back after their summer break.
And the 55-year-old Scot was encouraged by what he saw.
“I’m really pleased with the way the first day went,” said Irvine.
“The players have looked after themselves in the close season and reported back in good condition.
“We had the balls out in both the morning and afternoon sessions and the players trained really well, with a really good tempo and a lot of quality.
“It’s been a good start and I’m looking forward to the players continuing at that level.”
There were three absentees from the practice pitch yesterday.
After Ben Foster’s 2013/14 campaign was extended by his World Cup duty with England in Brazil, he will report back during this month’s training camp in Sacramento, California.
Also missing were James Morrison (knee) and Chris Brunt (groin), with both players having undergone minor procedures this summer.
Irvine added: “James and Chris have had small operations.
“James could well be training with us properly before we go on pre-season tour to America. We definitely expect him to be in full training in America.
“Chris’ recovery will take slightly longer but we’re hopeful he will be available for the Nottingham Forest game and back in good time for the start of the season.”
Irvine says the immediate focus will be getting his players ready for Saturday’s behind-closed-doors friendly with League Two Bury at the training ground.
“The boys will play 45 minutes each against Bury so by the end of this week, we’re aiming to get them where they were technically when they finished the season,” he added.
“Tactically, we’re not going to achieve anything this week.
“The main focus is building the players up gradually on the physical side and giving them lots of touches of the ball to get them where they need to be technically.”