Manager Paul Dickov spoke exclusively to Rovers Player after taking his first training session at Doncaster Rovers.
After the summer break the players returned for the usual first day fitness testing.
Manager Paul Dickov admitted that he was pleased with the results but also that there was still plenty of work to be done.
“The lads have been really bright and enthusiastic, as you would expect with a new manager coming in.
“I’m reasonably pleased with the fitness levels shown and it shows me that they are hungry to do well this as am I and my staff.
“There’s a few tests that we conduct to see where we are in terms of fitness and we have completed one of them already, which was fairly tough. As I said the level of fitness that they have come back with shows that they are in really good shape, which is a great starting point for me.
“For the remainder of this week there will be a mixture of both fitness work and ball work, but the majority of it will be fitness work. The one thing that I can guarantee everybody is that come August 3rd the players will be as fit as possible and will be raring to go.
“We do like to get the footballs out early, that is what you do in a football match you play football, and they have to learn very early how to handle the ball when they are tired. We want to pass the ball and we want to close teams down so the fitness we get into them now is really important.”
“I’ve watched a lot of DVD’s since I took the job, and through speaking to people at the club, I knew that the attitude was first class but I told them in the meeting that we want to raise the bar, we want to set the standards higher. It is important that we do set that standard very high and we meet them then we go again.
“What we want to do is hit the ground running that is why we are doing all the work that we are doing now leading up to the start of the season.”
On the subject of the out of contract player Dickov admitted that he is expecting most to re-sign.
“I still expect the majority to sign,” he said
“With players being away on holiday and me bringing them back in earlier than what they would have liked talks have been on-going but I’m confident that most of them will be here next season.”
On other transfer targets Dickov added: “We have a list of targets that we want to bring in and the majority of them have either got top Championship or Premier League experience; that is the calibre of players that we are looking to bring in.”
Paul also confirmed that a second bid for Scunthorpe United’s Mark Duffy had been rejected but reiterated that the club won’t be held to ransom in signing any player.
“We think Mark [Duffy] is a top quality Championship player. We put in a bid, last week, which was turned down and we put a second bid in on Friday, which was also turned down. We have a valuation of any player that we go in for and the one thing that we wont be is dictated to by other people or other clubs – if that valuation is turned down then we will move on because I have a decent list of players.”