DYLAN Mottley-Henry insists there will be “no excuses” as City gear up for pre-season again.

Stuart McCall’s squad will begin today in small groups at designated times to abide by social-distancing rules.

The strict Return to Training protocol will be followed for the first few days and players will have to be tested before they can move into any contact work.

McCall and his staff met the players at Valley Parade yesterday to go through the requirements as the club adapt to the COVID era.

But Mottley-Henry is excited to be back – and ready to justify the faith shown by McCall in giving him a new deal.

He said: “It’s good to have a manager who actually believes in you.

“He reminds me of how quick I am every single training session and how I need to use my pace.

“He tells me to get myself one-v-one and put loads of balls into the box.

“There are no excuses now for me.

“I played seven games before the lockdown came about and I need to do everything I can to be in the team every single week.

“That’s what I will go in thinking and it’s about putting it into practice now. I’m just going to be positive all round.”

Mottley-Henry returned to Valley Parade at the end of the January transfer window, coming on as a half-time substitute in Gary Bowyer’s last game at Oldham.

He featured in every game under McCall, who was keen to re-sign the winger after his short-term contract ended at the end of April.

“It was a tough one after the Salford game because I didn’t play great,” added the 22-year-old. “I’d felt a bit ill that day and it was difficult.

“But from the start when the manager came in, he gave me a positive vibe.

“He’d heard about me before obviously and watched a few games when I was younger at 15.

“I didn’t have the best of luck the last time I was at Bradford and at Barnsley. But it’s a breath of fresh air to have someone like that giving you confidence."

Mottley-Henry admitted it was “pretty easy” to keep himself motivated through the long break as he sets his sights towards the League Two kick-off on September 12.

“It’s a big weight off our shoulders now that we have a clear enough idea of when the season’s going to start. The hardest thing was not knowing what was happening.

“I’m an athlete like the rest of the team and we’re all used to working out and getting up every single day.

“So, it was nothing different because I always knew what I wanted to do and where I wanted to be.

“I’ve been keeping in contact with a few of the lads and doing a few running sessions together. It’s about keeping relationships and taking them into the season. It’s all very new but we’re footballers and have got to adapt to this sort of stuff.”

Mottley-Henry made his City debut against Preston in 2015 as a 17-year-old under Phil Parkinson and is relishing being back in familiar surroundings.

“Not much has changed around the training ground,” he added. “Leanne (Higgs), the dinner lady, recognised me and said I’d grown up and I remember a few of the ground staff. It was definitely my favourite choice to come back.”