CITY are braced for the pre-season endurance battle to kick up a gear.

Graham Alexander was pleased to see the players come through an intensive first full week of training.

But he has warned them that the next few days are going to get even tougher.

The squad were put through double sessions yesterday and can expect more of the same today ahead of a behind-closed-doors game scheduled for tomorrow afternoon.

And plenty more physical work is mapped out for the rest of the week going into the trip to Guiseley on Saturday.

Boss Alexander said: “We’ve got these double days and the behind-closed-doors game that is still part of the training.

“We’ll train Thursday and have a double session Friday. It will probably be tougher than last week.

“They will be more fatigued going into the next friendly when the fans can be with us at Guiseley.

“The players know they are going to feel it every day for the first two weeks.

“We have to almost get our second wind to go into week three or four, obviously with Austria as well, as we prepare for the season.

“The first two weeks is 70 per cent of the physical element. I’m delighted with where we are right now.”

Alexander hinted that the workload on the training ground could potentially ease as the League Two curtain-raiser at MK Dons draws nearer.

“I’ve said to the players that it’s their output that dictates where we have to go,” he added.

“I know where we have to be in five weeks’ time.

“If we’re there before that timeframe then the training will be dictated by that and come down.

Andy Cook and his team-mates can expect a tough weekAndy Cook and his team-mates can expect a tough week (Image: Thomas Gadd)

“The harder and earlier they do that work, the quicker it gets done.

“To be fair, they’ve done that very well so far. They’ve all committed to their off-season programme and the first week.

“I don’t want to say we’re ahead of where I expected us to be but we’re certainly not behind.”

Alexander used 22 players in Saturday’s 2-0 defeat at Chorley but Tyreik Wright, Brad Halliday, Calum Kavanagh, Aden Baldwin and Callum Johnson were not involved.

“We’ll have some really important information from the first game to work on this week and the analyse to go through with all the players.

“It gives us a base to work from on the tactical side.”

The City XI heading for Pickering Town this evening is expected to be made up of the under-19s.