IT has been a tough old pre-season at Wanderers – but MJ Williams says the players cannot claim they were not warned!

Ian Evatt told his squad that they would be pushed to their limits during a June training camp in Portugal.

But Williams reckons the graft is starting to pay off and even though the summer appears to have passed by in the blink of an eye, he is now looking forward to kicking off at Ipswich in a couple of weeks’ time.

“We put a lot of hard work in during pre-season,” he said. “I think it has been one of my toughest ones.

“We did have our six or seven weeks off but when we were coming back halfway through June you’re thinking ‘hang on a minute, that has gone quick!’

“The boys have been absolutely brilliant. The gaffer said he was going to put us through quite a bit of stress, and he definitely has, but we have stood up to it and come through it.

“Hopefully now as we come up to Ipswich we can start the season strongly.

The aim in pre-season has been to make Wanderers’ defensive press more effective and to reduce the amount of space offered to opposition players on the ball.

Evatt is also looking for better decision making from his players in possession, particularly when they are placed under pressure.

It all adds up to a strenuous, high-tempo style of football, which has been harder to play this summer in some uncomfortable heat, like the 30 degree temperatures at Colney on Tuesday afternoon.

“Sometimes it can be hard when you are chasing a little bit but I think come the start of the season we will be used to it,” Williams laughed. “The gaffer wants us to do it and we have trained all pre-season to put that hard work in, even the day before games. We haven’t taken a single step backwards.

“The whole pre-season has been positive but I do think this (Watford) has been our best performance.

“I think from the get-go we set out with what we wanted to do. When you come to play a team like this it can be tough, there are some top-quality players. “I think we controlled it. Obviously they had times where they controlled things but I think we played some great football and also showed that we can defend.

“It was humid on the pitch and it was a struggle to breathe at times but as a group we’re pressing at the right times, we’re together as a team, and the back line is high which means it makes it more difficult for them.

“Obviously there are times when they pick their way through but we have lads like Rico, Geth, Jack, Jonno, Will, they are quick, so we can afford it.”