With August 10th and the opening day of the league schedule fast approaching, Southampton's Under-23s are wracking up the miles during pre-season, having just returned from a 10 day training camp in Italy and travel to Newcastle this weekend for a friendly tournament.
Radhi Jaïdi has been encouraged by what he's seen in these early stages, not least because his youngsters held Serie A first-team Bologna for 70 minutes whilst out in Italy, before eventually succumbing to a two-goal loss.
Explaining that the mood is positive, and the camp is focussed on making the Premier League 2 campaign a successful one, Jaïdi gives a brief insight into the Under-23s' preparation, and intentions for the 2018/19 season.
"It's been a positive start to the year," he began.
"We had a good week at Staplewood, working on the fitness levels of the boys. Then over to Italy where we continued to work and run hard, but also started to embed some of the values and style of play.
"The boys have responded well, and the mentality is positive. There's a good environment and atmosphere around our training sessions.
"We played three games during our Italy camp, and the standard progressed from each game. We'll be ready for August 10th!
"We're trying to integrate the younger boys as quickly as possible, and introduce them to the intensity and discipline. Hard work is our key value and they've understood that message.
"I'm especially pleased with the performance against Bologna, we managed the level well. We started positively, strong, we put them under pressure and imposed our style of play.
"We were playing against a senior team, full of experience and international players, who progressively imposed themselves, and we conceded two goals through poor decision making. But overall the feedback was positive and it'll give us confidence moving forward.
"We want to compete in Premier League 2, of course. The commitment and sacrifice is to go back ready and strong, to compete in this league. We want to get something from it."