Blyth Spartans’ Danny Parker remained in buoyant mood despite Saturday’s 3-1 reverse against Stranraer.
And the defender insisted that preparations at Croft Park ahead of the new campaign are well on track.
Goals from captain Frank McKeown, Jamie Longworth and Jamie Watson secured the Scottish League One side a fifth pre-season success in as many games, with Chris Moore’s second half strike ultimately little more than a consolation for Tom Wade’s men.
But Parker – one of only a handful of players to feature in each of Spartans’ friendly games so far – believes the Green Army were hard done by.
He said: “3-1 definitely flattered them. No disrespect to them, but I think we dominated the game all over the park.
“I thought we kept them at bay and kept possession back against a very good team.
“Unfortunately, due to their season coming up next week, they were that little bit fitter than us, and we lost it in the last ten minutes really.”
And the centre-half – who enjoyed a terrific campaign of his own last term – believes Spartans will be more than prepared for their season curtain-raiser against Grantham Town next month, thanks to a summer of extensive effort on the training pitch.
“The team’s chemistry is absolutely top-notch now – a lot better than it was last season,” he said.
“We’re making a lot of progress in terms of keeping the ball and trusting each other. We’re a lot fitter compared to this time last season, too.
“Colin (Myers) has been doing a lot of sessions with us, and the staff have been keeping track of our fitness scientifically.
“After four games, you can already tell it has made a difference.”
Parker also reserved a word of praise for new boy Jarrett Rivers – who changed the complexion of the game after entering the fray as a second half substitute – as well as the four trialists who took to the pitch for the home side.
He said: “Jarrett is quite deceiving. He’s very quick, he’s very confident with his feet, and he’s very skilful.
“I think he can cause a problem for absolutely any defender in the league.
“The trialists did very well – they’ve held their own, and they’ve been quite consistent.
“Today in the changing room, Colin spoke about how important it was to start stating a claim for a place, and to keep hold of a jersey. That message went out to all of us, including the trialists.
“There’s a lot of competition in the squad now. And if we want to be looking to get promoted, or we want to have a chance of the play-offs, then we need to have that depth.”