John Buckley feels Rovers’ trip to Austria has been a tough assignment as they prepare to sign off with a friendly double-header against TSV Hartberg.

While storms have been prevalent in the Styrian region where Rovers are based, the training sessions have taken place in scorching temperatures.

That theme will continue when they travel to Stadion Hartberg to take on the Austrian Bundesliga side in two separate 90 minute games, the first being at 9.30am UK time.

Buckley spent much of the summer training at Brockhall to build up his fitness after a knee injury ruled him out of the final two months of last season.

He still feels there is work to do to get him into the best possible condition for the upcoming season, but is ready for the challenge of 90 minutes after a testing week on the training pitches.

“It’s been good, good to have a week away,” Buckley told the Lancashire Telegraph from the club’s Bad Radkersburg base.

“The training has been really tough, with the weather as well, but good team bonding with all the lads.

“Pre-season is about fitness, we’ve had some tough sessions and the game will be tough in this heat.

“Football wise I feel like I’ve had touches of the ball before a lot of people but need to keep improving my fitness.

“With three or four weeks until the season starts I should be good to go for then.

“It’s been good to have the ball back at my feet again.

“Against Accrington I was a bit rusty at times, but fitness wise I felt good.

“Ninety minutes in this heat will only do me good so I’m looking forward to it.”

Buckley’s season was ended by injury in March, ruling him out of the run-in, and meant he was restricted to just 28 appearances.

That followed a breakthrough 2021/22 for the 23-year-old when he was a virtual mainstay of the side.

The Academy graduate says he will sit down and make targets for the upcoming season in the coming weeks, but for now fitness is his focus.

He said: “Probably not at the moment because I had an injury last season, so I’m just happy to be back.

“I’ll probably sit down and set a few goals for the season and what I want to do.

“It’s good for your mindset to have targets and see where you are at each stage of the season.

“I know what I’ll want to set out and do, I’ll speak to the coaches, speak to Damo (Damien Johnson) and set some targets.”