James Beattie is looking to step up the fitness levels of his players, starting in tomorrow’s pre-season game at Nelson.

The Reds played their opening friendly at New Mills in midweek in the middle of a four day training camp in the Midlands that has seen the squad put in the hard yards.

Now the manager is keen to keep raising the bar – but not at the risk of picking up injuries.

“The aim of the early games is to get the lads through them, to get minutes under their belts and have a soft tissue injury record like we had last year,” he explained.

“I’m not saying that will happen every year but we were proud of that last year and each individual is closely monitored. We look at the fatigue levels, looking at them in training and gauging how many sessions they’ve done and how long they’ve trained for. I’ve said to them that if they have any kind of problem we’ll talk about it and decide if they need a rest.

“The main thing is that they are all ready and fighting fit for 9th August.”

A number of players are still training with the squad as they look to win contracts with the club for the League Two campaign but with places limited Beattie is delighted to have a strong base to build on already in place.

“I think we’ve got the nucleus of a very good team,” he said. “It’s the nucleus of the team that finished last season on really good form but that’s gone now and we’re getting ready to start a new season. I’m still keen to add a couple of players if possible within the budget I have and then I’ll be looking to use the loan market.

“If we can get a couple in with the quality of Marcus Bettinelli then that’d be tremendous. It’s a great group, the lads are all friends and they all socialise and play football together. If we can add a couple that fit in then that’ll be good.”