IF Bury FC's players found the start of their pre-season training tough going this week they only had themselves to blame - they were warned!

The squad reported back on Tuesday morning and soon discovered that kicking out the cobwebs under the new regime is a totally new experience.

Manager Graham Barrow and assistant Kelham O'Hanlon made a point of informing their charges before the summer break that things would be a little different on their return. . . now they know.

"Without being disrespectful to what's gone on here before, this time it will be a lot harder for the lads," said Barrow.

"We warned them that they'd be going straight into it. In the past they have probably had a bit of a breaking-in period.

"Kelham only arrived midway through the season so the players will be unfamiliar with his pre-season methods.

"This year we've gone for more concentrated training sessions and it's probably different to what some of the lads are used to.

"But it's all gone very well, they are looking good and fit. Nowadays you find that players do look after themselves a lot better."

Clearly, nothing but 100 per cent effort will earn them a starting berth against Yeovil Town on the opening day of the new campaign.

And that's a lesson that may still have to be learned by some of the club's younger players.

"The experienced players know you have to put everything into these sessions but you sometimes have to get onto the young lads," added Barrow.

"Little failings like tailing off in the final ten yards of a run can be vital to their fitness.

"It's not that they can't do it, they are fit enough, but sometimes they think they have done enough.

"We don't want to be losing games like the one at Northampton last season when we were ahead twice.

"These younger players are sure to be involved in games with the squad the size of ours so it's important they are in top condition.

"It's not about getting their bodies right because they are fit lads, it's a mental thing. They have to learn that these sessions need to be finished off correctly."

No matter how well players performed last season it's a fresh start for all the squad and reputations will mean nothing if total commitment isn't there.

"Sometimes players think they are assured of their places but it's not the case," said Barrow.

"For example Tom Kennedy was great last season but he still has to fight for his place.

"It's only a memory once you go into pre-season training and if you aren't 'at it' you'll find yourself out of the team.

"It's hard to accept for a professional player, I've been there myself."

The Shakers kick-off their friendly games with the annual visit to UniBond League neighbours Radcliffe Boro on Tuesday evening (7.30pm).

It's the first chance for supporters to get a look at the new signings, two familiar in Jon Newby and Dave Challinor and two not, Dwayne Mattis and Graeme Jones.

Barrow is keen to add a fifth new face to the squad and that could happen sooner rather than later according to the Bury boss.

"Looking around the dressing room the other day I still feel we need someone else on the left side," he explained.

"We are still chasing someone but are facing stiff competition from a few clubs, notably Bristol Rovers.

"Fortunately location is in our favour and I'm fairly confident.

"It would be wrong to say he'd be the final piece in the jigsaw because you never know, but we'd have a good strong look about us if we could get him."

One player who hasn't yet joined up with the first team squad is midfielder Terry Dunfield.

He is on international duty with the full Canadian squad in a Vancouver tournament involving British clubs.

Canada take on Hearts on July 12 and Millwall on July 14 and Dunfield will be travelling back a day later.

It's the former Manchester City man's first step up to the full international ranks and Barrow reckons he deserves the chance after missing out on a number of occasions in the past.

The Bury boss contacted Canada manager Frank Yallop, the former Ipswich Town player, who reported that he's working hard and would get a game in before he returns.

"It wasn't an easy decision at this stage in the season's preparations but I think it's only right to let him go over," said Barrow.

"He was knocked back for the Olympic squad last season by Andy (Preece) but I felt it would do him good to spend some time with the full squad.

"It will be football of the highest level against Hearts and Millwall.

"It means a lot to him to be able to go back home for a spell and we want him back in the right physical shape and frame of mind too.

"Anything that gets Terry back to his best can only be good."

Defenders Matt Barrass and Colin Woodthorpe are both expected to sign new contracts in the next few days.