PREMIER League football moves a step closer tomorrow, with the Burnley squad reporting back to Gawthorpe for pre-season training.

It's a day that has been eagerly anticipated since the fixtures came out. Everyone will be vying for a place in Sean Dyche’s inaugural top flight team to take on Chelsea on the opening day.

So while the break was welcome after the hard, but ultimately rewarding, work of last season, and rest and recuperation was needed, they will all have all been mindful of the season ahead.

Each went away with their own personal programme to stick to, a weight and body mass index target.

Those readings will be checked by the first team staff tomorrow.

Gone are the days of footballers having blow-outs and over indulging from after the final whistle of the last game to the first day of pre-season training, with the odd token run and gym session thrown in for good measure in between.

They would sweat it off on long runs around the town, wearing a bin liner if extra assistance was needed to shed the excess pounds.

But modern day players cannot afford to fall behind in that manner any more, such are the developments in sports science at every level, but especially the Premier League.

With elite football comes elite fitness, and among the work that has been done at Gawthorpe this summer are improvements to that department.

A sports scientist was not in place the last time Burnley were promoted and the absence of what has become an important staff member became evident.

There are no such issues this time around with Mark Howard one of the finest in his field.

There can be no greater incentive, though, for the players to stick to the plan in the interim.

Danny Ings said he was in the best shape of his life by the end of last pre-season. To better that, he has enlisted the help of a personal trainer to put him through his paces in the build-up.

Kieran Trippier and Kevin Long have also put in extra hours with the club’s strength and conditioning coach. They want to hit the ground running.

It is in a player’s own interests to abide by their summer guidelines to give themselves a headstart for the gruelling pre-season work-outs.

In the previous two pre-seasons, it was noted that Keith Treacy had perhaps bent the rules.

But if he is to return and fight for a new contract, as is the indication, he will have to prove how much he wants it from day one.

Preparations for the Premier League start tomorrow. This is no time to play catch-up.