THE departure of Bury’s first-team fitness coach Dave Tivey last Thursday may have seemed like unfortunate timing, coming less than a week before the official start of pre-season.

But while the senior squad reassembled for their first full training session yesterday, individually they have been working hard on their fitness with Tivey all summer, so the players should not be too badly disrupted.

Manager David Flitcroft explained he took the unusual step up of announcing his retained list in the week leading up to the final game of last season against Morecambe to help speed up preparations for the current campaign.

Each member of the squad was handed a personalised summer programme before that match and have reported back in to Tivey and the coaching staff for regular checks over the past eight weeks.

“Because of letting the players know in the week leading up to the Morecambe game it allowed the players to finish as soon as possible,” said Flitcroft.

“They actually only had two full weeks off and as a squad have been in to do their strength and power work.

“The number of sessions they have been asked to complete depended on where they were at physically after the last campaign, how many games they played, that kind of thing.

“And whilst they haven’t been in full time over the summer, the players have not just been left to it.

“They have been in for regular tests, so we could track their progress, and so will hopefully all be up to the same high level of fitness by the time the official pre-season begins.”

Group sessions began in earnest yesterday, leading up to the first pre-season friendly at Radcliffe Borough on Friday, July 9.

The immediate plans on Tivey’s replacement have not yet been revealed, but it is understood that with the players’ fitness work already well underway, training will now switch focus to more technical aspects.

Tivey, who was recruited by previous boss Kevin Blackwell, made it clear his decision to leave was not made lightly.

“It’s been a pleasure to work for both the club and the board,” he said.

“I want to thank everybody at the club for the time I spent here it’s been a huge step in my development.

“I’m obviously very sad to leave but I am pursuing other opportunities to further my career. I want to wish everyone a successful forthcoming season.”

The club was forced to make another change to its pre-season preparations last week after switching what had been intended to be the first home friendly – against Sheffield Wednesday on Friday, July 18 – to the AJ Bell Stadium in Salford.

A statement from the board said the change of venue was made to allow the newly-laid pitch at the JD Stadium the maximum time to bed in.

“Redevelopment work on the pitch was delayed by weather and although that is now complete, the club would like to see the surface have another 10 days to grow,” read the statement.