Ipswich Town manager Mick McCarthy has hailed his side's terrific fitness levels following their return to pre-season training last Monday.

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McCarthy, who oversaw every session, suggested that he has already spotted improvements within his side's shape and condition.

The Tractor Boys boss told ​Ipswich Player HD: “Remarkably they seem to get better and better every year.”

“There was a couple of good competitions going on in the bleep test and Luke Hyam finished second [to Paul Digby] for the first time in a long time, so they were all very good results.

“When we used to come back we had to have a week to get us fit to train. I used to go off and have about eight weeks off without doing a great deal but they actually get programmes now that they have to do.

“If they don’t adhere to them, when they come back they’ll be out of shape and way behind, then if you don’t start well you’ll get injuries. There’s a big risk in not being as fit as you should be.

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“We’ve got a great group of lads here in that respect. Lids [Andy Liddell] is excellent. I give him credit for a lot of things in the way we handle our programme.

“He keeps them ticking over. He’s very, very good, he keeps them ticking over and he’s ex-players so it’s not all science based it’s about his experience in getting through it and knowing the feeling of being a footballer.”