Mark Hughes says his Southampton side are relishing another pre-season test this weekend against Derby County.
After good work during the pre-season training camp in China, which included two friendlies against FC Schalke and Jiangsu Suning, Saints now face the Rams in their first domestic outing.
And Hughes has been delighted with the application and intensity on display from his players in recent weeks.
“We’re looking forward to it. We’ve had a good week’s work since we’ve come back and a good level of games as well,” Hughes said.
“It will be an interesting test against a Derby team who have a new manager and there will be quite a lot of interest around his appointment so it will be another step.”
“It’s about what we’re trying to do and embed into our players. We’re looking in good nick at the moment and I’ve been pleased with how we’re progressing.
“We’ve still got a number of weeks to go yet because we turn out in the first game against Burnley. There’s still a lot of work to put into people but I’m pleased with where we are at this stage.”
New signings Angus Gunn and Jannik Vestergaard have recently joined the group, while Mohamed Elyounoussi is further along in terms of training and is likely to feature at Pride Park.
Hughes added: “Angus hasn’t had a great deal of training after a five-week break. He’s only started training this week so we’ll have to a little bit cautious with him.
“Jannik is a different situation as he’s only had two-weeks and he’s been at the World Cup training every day. We’ll try and get him some game time, albeit it won’t be a significant part but it would be good to get him integrated with his teammates.
“Moi is ready to go and he’s had good training so he’s ready for significant minutes.”