THE hills have been alive with the sound of music – of sorts.

It wasn’t quite Julie Andrews twirling in the Alpine meadows. More the initiation songs being belted out keenly, if not always in tune, by the host of newbies on City’s trip to Austria.

Dominic Poleon got the popular nod among a demanding audience as the best, or maybe the least worst, of the willing competitors.

But for all the bum notes around the dinner table on Wednesday night, this week has certainly hit the right ones in Stuart McCall’s eyes.

Surrounded by mountains popular with skiers, Kleinwalsertal is far enough off the beaten track to allow the squad to bed in without distractions. The Bantams are the first professional club to try out the facilities.

The venue is only accessible by one road from Germany – the three-hour route City will face this morning ahead of their friendly with TV Echterdingen just outside Stuttgart.

Their base for the last five days has offered a stunning backdrop to the intensive training regime. Though peace and tranquillity was out the question among the warbling.

“It was actually the best standard of singing we’ve had for a while,” laughed McCall. “I’ve got to say the lads were better than the normal rubbish.”

Take note January recruits Charlie Wyke and Alex Jones, who will clearly have to up their game.

The laughs and camaraderie around the chalets are all part of the team bonding McCall will hope to see as a result of spending days on end in each other’s company.

Don’t underestimate the impact of last year’s getaway to St Andrew’s for engendering the spirit that would take them to within one late goal of promotion.

This week’s Austrian excursion has been organised by Marc Klopp, son of Liverpool manager Jurgen. Maybe that will sprinkle some of his old man’s gold dust onto City’s fortunes for the coming campaign.

McCall’s verdict, as he watched a training game on Thursday afternoon, was certainly a positive one.

“The place is picturesque and the hotel’s been very good,” he said, before breaking off to sigh at a missed chance from Romain Vincelot.

“We’ve had the weather in that it’s not been roasting, although there have been a couple of downpours. But we’ve got plenty of work in.

“We did two sessions Tuesday, a long one Wednesday, two more today and there’ll be another long one in the morning.

“It will be football based but not like a normal Friday because we don’t know the standard of the weekend game. It’s all about getting the fitness levels up.

“But the lads have all put it in this week and you’d hope each day they are getting better, feeling fitter and sharper.

“The last session was really encouraging and you could see the lads working hard. We’ll do some more football-based work and then they’ll have a gym circuit for about 30 minutes.”

Some used the free afternoon on Wednesday to jump in the cable car that rises up the nearest mountain to the summit of Walmendingerhorn, the third-highest peak in the area at a mere 6,530 feet.

Joint-owner Stefan Rupp kept his feet firmly on the ground to pop in and watch one of the sessions. But a prior business arrangement means he won’t be at Sportpark Goldacker this afternoon.

Edin Rahic and his family will be there – as well as a fair contingent of away fans travelling by all means of transport – for the game to mark the 125th anniversary of the chairman’s home-town club.

And all being well, McCall will give the whole travelling squad a game. That will include Paul Taylor and Alex Gilliead, who were not deemed ready to be involved against Park Avenue last week.

McCall said: “A couple of lads have got a little bit of tightness but we’ll see how they are. They should be okay.

“We’re looking to get 45 minutes into all of them. It’s about starting to build the match fitness.”

To that end, City have upgraded next week’s local trip to Eccleshill to a more senior status.

McCall is now likely to split numbers between Guiseley on Tuesday and Plumpton Park 24 hours later.

He said: “We’ve got a reasonable-sized squad now, so we’re going to have a couple more games.”