Defender Peter Clarke admitted pre-season has been tough so far but is a necessity ahead of the new 2018/19 campaign.
The 36-year-old is back at Latics following a loan move away from the club last season and he is getting himself prepared for the new season, looking to lead the club back to Sky Bet League One.
He said: “Pre-season has been tough. It’s pre-season so that’s what it’s for.
“You know there’s obviously a physical aspect to it in conditioning the body, but you know, there's a mental aspect to it too.
I’m sure the gaffer is weighing up how people are, in terms of the physical wellbeing, but also, with what they’ve got mental toughness wise.
“The gaffer has been great. He’s come in and left the lads under no illusions to what he wants and how he wants to play, what he expects from us all as a squad and also as individuals.
“There’s a real light of optimism around and in the changing room and a really good work ethic.”
The first couple of days have been about fitness and endurance and Clarke has identified characteristics which will help the team get out of this division next season.
“Hard work and a good work ethic is a vitally important,” he commented. “It’s okay having talent but having talent won’t win you games alone.
“Sometimes on a cold Tuesday night at a said location, you’ve got to dig in and do all of the horrible, nitty-gritty bits and pieces that’s going to win you games and you’ve got to have a good work ethic and a strong desire to work harder than the other team.”
Ashton United is the first pre-season fixture on Tuesday, July 10. “I think all of our lads are looking forward to the pre-season fixtures coming up,” Clarke said.
“They know the first week or ten days is going to be hard graft and that is going to give you a strong base for the forthcoming season.”