Watch the Gaffer's pre-match press conference ahead of Sunday's match with Newcastle United.
The Gaffer on whether pre-season preparations have gone up a gear in the last week…
Yeah I think so now we're into the games. It's been a heavy workload for the players on the running and fitness side but we've now had quite a few good, strong sessions with the ball and on the physical side as well.
We're getting ready for our third pre-season game of the season which is against Newcastle, which is one we're all looking forward to.
On thinking behind playing the likes of Newcastle, Sunderland and Rotherham…
They're all tough challenges and we don't want to go into the campaign undercooked and not ready. We want big challenges that will really test us and test our resolve defensively and obviously make us work really hard against the standard of opponents we're up against.
On comparing Sunday's match with Newcastle to previous occasions at The EnviroVent Stadium…
Perhaps a few years ago when we opened the Wetherby Road side stand, we had Leeds United under Uwe Rosler and that was a fantastic occasion because the fans came in their droves and it was a great atmosphere.
Unfortunately Newcastle won't be able to bring fans and that's not what we envisaged when we arranged the fixture.
But in terms of the stature of club, albeit Newcastle are Premier League and Leeds were in the Championship at the time, it's still historically a huge game.
On our recent trip to Ripley Castle…
A trip to Ripley Castle is a part of our tradition now in pre-season. Ever since we went full time, we've been to Ripley Castle and Mike Gosling as looked after us. The steep hills and long grass seem to get steeper and thicker year on year.
I think it's about testing the lads' character as much as anything. It's a little bit old school but we want a team full of character and one that everyone in the terraces admire for their work rate.
On how the pitch is looking after training at The EnviroVent Stadium on Thursday…
It's like a billiard table at the minute. It's probably the best it's been for the past 12 years since I've been at the club. The grounds man, Ian, has done an amazing job on it so full credit to him and from our perspective, it's a pitch now that everyone can't wait to get playing on.
On looking forward to Sunday and the return of fans…
We're all looking forward to getting back on our home pitch. We didn't have the benefit of that last season so it'll be great to undergo a season and get the season underway at home against Rochdale. By practicing on the pitch and getting these pre-season games in, hopefully it'll be a good thing for us.
It's a shame we won't have Newcastle's black and white scarfs at The EnviroVent because it would have made a tremendous atmosphere.
Our fans alone will be there and they've been suppressed for so long so it's something to look forward to and for us to get really excited about, hearing the cheering from the terraces again, it's been too long.