Nottingham Forest defender Michael Dawson is fighting fit and keen to get back involved ahead of the start of pre-season training.
The experienced centre back missed the end of the campaign through injury but, having been involved in training at the tail end of the season, is ready to get straight back into the action.
He said: “Summer is time to be with the family, you have your holiday which is always needed after a long season. You go away, recoup and then after a few weeks’ rest you start to get fit again doing your own little bits and prepare for pre-season.
“I trained for the last two or three weeks which was great for the confidence and knowing that my hamstring was right. I had been out for so long so to get match fit in games was tough, but for me knowing that summer was coming up I could train for two or three weeks, have the summer then come back in pre-season like everyone else.
“I have been in a couple of times during the summer to check everything is fine but I knew that it was. It was never going to be a problem and I am prepared for that first day of pre-season.”
This pre-season will be Michael’s 19th as a professional footballer and he feels that experience means he knows how to manage the off-season well.
“I am a lot older and wiser now and know that you need to have your rest over the summer but be right for pre-season.
“The lads come back so fit nowadays anyway, not like when I started back in the day when the lads would come back and you’d have six weeks to get fit.
“We are getting the balls out straight away and some of the lads are still playing internationals now, so they’ll get three or four weeks off. You shut down for two weeks then start ticking again.
“I missed large chunks of the end of last season through injury so pre-season is a fresh start for everyone to come in and start flying. A good pre-season takes you into the season in good form and sets you up for the season.”
The Reds take in trips to Spain and Greece as part of the pre-season programme, with friendlies against Dundee, Atromitos, Olympiacos and Real Sociedad all providing tests outside of English football.
Dawson believes these games, as well as being away as a group, will only help to make the squad strong for the lengthy Championship season.
He said: “It does help and last pre-season was great for me as we went away straight away to St George’s Park and then Spain.
“When you sign for the club, it is great to settle in as you are with each other 24/7. You spend your relaxing time together and that is when you get to know each other. It is not just in at training for a few hours then everyone goes home, you are spending a lot of time with each other and then you feel really part of it.
“We have some good games lined up. Pre-season is about getting the games under your belt and you can’t look too much into the results. It is about getting the work done, with the manager getting his point across about what he wants from each player and each position and that every box is ticked.”