Hull City manager Steve Bruce has insisted his players must use pre-season to earn a place in his team on the first day of the new campaign.
The KC Stadium outfit are currently preparing for their first season in the Premier League since 2009-10, and will send sides to take on North Ferriby and Winterton Rangers in a friendly double-header on Monday as they look to gain fitness.
But Bruce says he is not treating the game as a training exercise, and is keen for his players to impress ahead of their meeting with Chelsea on August 17.
“These games are the start of our preparation for the new season and a good run-out for the players,” he told The Hull Daily Mail.
“We’ve had a good, tough first week of training and now it’s about getting some minutes under the belts. These games are about fitness first and foremost, but it’s important for the players to make sure they’re ready and in my thoughts for the Chelsea game.
“There’s still a buzz around the place and why shouldn’t there be?
“There’s some really big games ahead for us and there’s still that excitement from what they achieved together last year. It’s important we keep that going.”
Hull clinched promotion with a second-placed finish in the Championship last term.