CITY will be back in training by the end of the month.

Stuart McCall has confirmed that plans are in place for the squad to return to Woodhouse Grove to start pre-season.

The players are still on furlough as clubs wait for the EFL to decide on an opening date for the League Two 2020-2021 campaign.

Saturday, September 12 looks to be the favoured option although an earlier start of August 29 is also being considered.

But with the new season approaching, business is starting to return to normal.

Division rivals Bolton return to training today and others are getting closer – with McCall revealing that City are set to follow towards the end of next week.

He said: “We’re looking to get back at the end of this month. The lads have been told to ramp up their programmes now.

“It’s looking likely we’ll be getting a start date for the season, so they’ll be increasing their fitness schedules.

“It’s really what they would be doing in close season now ready to come back.

“As each week goes by, the protocols on going back to training are loosening slightly.

“It’s not what it was when the Premier League went back a couple of months ago.

“You remember the likes of Willian and Troy Deeney not going in because they had concerns. But it has obviously been progressing.”

New signings Levi Sutton and Billy Clarke will be among the squad that will assemble at Woodhouse Grove when given the all clear.

Wolves midfielder Elliot Watt is expected to be added once the transfer window opens next Monday.

McCall and his coaching staff will find out over the next few days exactly what special measures must be taken in the training environment.

He added: “We’ll have a big meeting with the squad prior to going into training about the protocols and what is needed to be done. We will obviously follow them stringently.

“We need to be on the ball with that and won’t be over-relaxed.

“Between now and when we do go back, we need to know 100 per cent if testing is going to be done.

“It might just be the fact of a temperature gauge at the beginning of training. But I imagine we’ll have more data coming through in the next week.”

Health precautions must still be taken but McCall is comfortable with a sense of normality returning to their preparations.

“We had been looking at how we could do training in groups of threes and such. We were thinking it might have to be done in stages.

“I was going through all my coaching stuff and seeing what we could do in small groups with the social distancing. It would have been very disjointed.

“But now the rules are changing a bit which helps. I wouldn't say it's more relaxed but it is certainly looking a lot more helpful.

“There are still ‘dos and don’ts’ like whether the lads will be able to have showers. But we’ll know more shortly.

"It's becoming nearer for all of us and I'm certainly looking forward to when we can get going again."