Date: 8th July 2010 at 4:55pm
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Martin O’Neill is confident the team will hit the ground running as preparations for the new season began today.

Speaking on the Official Site following the first training sessions of the new season O’Neill was pleased with what he saw from the players in attendance – obviously those on World Cup duty have been given extra time off to have a break – and he is looking forward to the league opener against West Ham as well as our two leg Europa League play off.

‘First of all, I think the most important thing is the kick off itself.’

O’Neill admits he was pleased with last season’s preparations, the Peace Cup victory albeit with the youngsters and was then amazed we went on to play so badly against Wigan but with further improvements in the technology side of the game when it comes to fitness, he hopes the players will start better this time round.

‘The first day back, as a player, it was never a day you looked forward to because in the olden days you were thrown straight into it. But as for myself and the backroom staff, we are pleased to be back.’

O’Neill continued to talk about the difference in the modern game whereby players actually keep themselves fit over the season break, which allows for a nice steady climb back to ‘match fitness’ during the pre season weeks.

We also have some interesting fixtures over the pre season weeks this season, and O’Neill describes it as a ‘varied programme’ of games to get the boys back in top condition and obviously with the number of European opponents we will face it should get us into the frame of mind for the Europa League.

‘We play some home opposition, we travel abroad as well and, towards the end, we have got Feyenoord and Benfica before we play Valencia. So that sort of quality of opposition should be good enough.’

It should certainly be good enough, and should serve as further good experience for most of the players as we head into Monny’s 5th season hopefully with the aim of grabbing some silverware or two as well as showing another, slight, improvement in the league.

Ahhhh it feels much better now that the season has almost truly started. No World Cup nonsense, we can get back to good old fashioned transfer nonsense and play our weekly game of pick the team!

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