Scott Neilson reckons the current City squad are a closer bunch than last year.

The winger believes the recent week away in Essex has made the players a tight-knit group – and that has got to be good news for the season ahead.

Neilson said: “Everyone is bonding well and we’re all a lot closer already. Last season I felt we didn’t have enough team spirit. This time we’ve got everyone together and you can see the difference.

“Down south we had all the facilities on site like badminton and table tennis and everyone was joining in and having a good craic.

“We were working really hard in training and doing double sessions every day but keeping everyone as one group has really helped.”

Neilson has plenty to prove after finishing his first league term out on loan at Cambridge United. Peter Taylor questioned his match fitness soon after taking over.

It was a tough learning curve for the former plumber but he has come back stronger and impressed with a busy performance in Saturday’s 1-1 friendly draw at Rochdale.

Neilson said: “I’ve worked hard through the summer to get myself fit. I’m trying to get things back on track.

“The manager has said that I’ve got the ability to get in the team. It’s just working hard to try and get in there and show it.

“We’ve got a big squad with a lot of competition now. We’ve got good players in this year and a good spirit. We’ve got to be pushing to get straight up.”

Neilson’s efforts have not gone unnoticed by his boss.

“He’s come back into pre-season, worked hard and that was his second 90 minutes on the spin,” said Taylor after the Rochdale game.

“He’s obviously got very good talent, he can get goals and I think he’ll do well. It’s down to him really.”