BRADFORD Park Avenue boss John Deacey makes no secret of his dislike of pre-season.
But he has had to admit that he has been delighted with the attitude of his players during their friendlies and in training.
Avenue have lost to two Football League clubs but enjoyed victories over two non-League sides ahead of today's latest fixture against Sheffield United at Horsfall Stadium.
Deacey said: "It's pre-season and I think everyone knows my thoughts on 'pretend' football.
"But it is there as a means to an end – it is very important to the players for sharpness and fitness.
"I don't think you can even look at the results. All it is is a work in progress.
"It gives the players time on the pitch and me and Mark (Hulme, assistant manager) a chance to try different systems and to have a close look at a few trialists.
"The lads have responded well to the tough sessions and they are taking our instructions on board. There have been some very good individual and team performances."
Deacey says he has been delighted with Avenue's new signings.
"They have settled in quickly, worked hard and they want to do well for Bradford," he said.
"As I've said many times before, pre-season means nothing – we have to be ready for our opening league match on August 9."
Avenue's new Conference North season starts with a trip to Gloucester City.