The Hibees spent last week in Cheshire, fine-tuning their preparations ahead of the 2021-22 campaign, which starts in 10 days time with a Europa Conference League second qualifying round first leg tie against either Mons Calpe SC or FC Santa Coloma at Easter Road.
A 1-1 draw with Stoke City on Friday brought an end to the trip, following the 1-0 defeat to Accrington Stanley earlier in the week, with the first team squad now back at HTC ahead of the visit of Arsenal tomorrow in a glamour friendly that will be watched by 2000 fans.
With two weeks of training now under their belts since returning from their end of season break, Ross is happy with how the team is shaping up for the challenges ahead, particularly compared to the difficulties faced last year in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.
“I’ve been delighted with what they’ve produced physically,” the Hibs boss said.
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“It’s been a very different pre-season in terms of planning from last year. With everything that was going on, and the disruption that everyone had, we had a really long pre-season, almost an eight-week pre-season, which is unheard of normally.
“This year it’s been much more condensed before our first competitive match in Europe and obviously with the cup final involvement it’s meant the players’ rest period has been short. That has meant the players have come back in a really good condition and haven’t deconditioned much at all.
“I’ve been delighted with what they’ve produced physically and the really pleasing aspect is the quality they’ve shown.”
Ross also outlined the key benefits of the camp which saw players spend the full week together under the watchful eye of the coaching staff.
"The benefit from coming away at any time is the opportunity to control all aspects so the recovery, the training load, and the nutrition of the players,” he added.
“We have a fairly settled squad, but obviously Dan Mackay joined the group at the end of the last season, so was familiar to some of them. Jake (Doyle-Hayes) is the only new face within the group, but it’s been good for him to get to know the players better.”