King’s Lynn Town’s players knew their hard work was going to begin in earnest when they arrived for their first pre-season session – on a running track.

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Gary Setchell gathered his players, who were joined by the club’s reserve team, at King Edward VII School (KES) on Saturday to begin preparations for next season with a clear mandate – a summer of relaxation is over.

Boots were replaced by trainers while football was swapped for athletics as players were put through their paces in the most punishing of manners.

A gentle warm-up may have seemed like a laugh, but the 3,200m run afterwards certainly wasn’t, even if Ryan Fryatt breezed around the track like a seasoned long-distance athlete.

The pain didn’t stop there for Setchell’s weary troops though as they then tackled 25-minute circuits that were split into three parts: more running, physical exercises and, to the players’ relief, football, as part of a small-sided game of sorts.

Setchell, who said more ball-based drills will follow in the coming weeks, admitted: “The first session’s always the hardest for the lads.

“The new lads have come in and mixed really well and I’m pleased with how it went. The lads worked very hard.

“The proper match fitness comes from the friendlies, but training’s a good guide.

“The lads have been looking after themselves, some more than others, but they’ve got six to seven weeks, and eight matches, to get fit.

“It’s a big group effort and all the staff chipped in on Saturday. The lads know they worked hard and it was a good start.”

The importance of Setchell’s assistant Neil Fryatt and coach Ross McNeil, reserve team boss Jonathan Hawes and his second-in-command Jason Coe – plus physio Dave Edgley and secretary Norman Cesar – were all in evidence during the two-hour session.

But it was the togetherness and integration of the new players – former Long Buckby trio Richard Bunting, Russell Dunkley and Dan Quigley, along with ex-Lowestoft man Jamie Forshaw – which would have pleased Setchell most.

Not once did there appear to be any cliques as banter, and support, was exchanged during drills that left most out on their feet.

And all four stood with the rest of the squad as the players bonded and answered fans’ questions during Saturday’s open day at the club, much to the delight of watching Linnets, and probably most of all, to Lynn’s manager.

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