Alex McLeish’s Birmingham City squad will get back to the serious business of the Premier League when they report for pre-season training on Monday.
After two months away from the Wast Hills training field, body fat percentages will be registered, fitness levels will be gauged and new targets will be set.
It will be a chance for recent recruits to get accustomed to their new surroundings. Ben Foster and Enric Valles included, although Nikola Zigic is sure to be handed extra time off to recover from his World Cup exploits with Serbia.
In fact, Birmingham may well find themselves at an advantage to several of their Premier League rivals this summer.
While many top flight sides will welcome back several jaded stars from a whole host of nations following the World Cup, Birmingham will only have to help ensure Zigic overcomes the rigours of the tournament.
For several others, the start of a new pre-season will be a chance to look forward to an injury-free season.
Stuart Parnaby, fresh from signing a new one-year deal at St Andrew’s, will be hoping that he has seen the last of the back injury that not only ruined his last season but left him fearing for his career.
Another, David Murphy missed the whole of last season with a fractured knee-cap sustained at the end of the 2008/09 promotion-winning campaign.
Garry O’Connor’s future at Birmingham still remains in limbo.
However, should the Scotland international striker pen a new contract he will be hoping he has seen the surgeon’s knife for the last time, having been sidelined with complications from a groin injury last season.
Under a schedule set out by his newly-appointed head of sports science/fitness coach, Nick Davies, McLeish will be looking to get his squad into a condition fit for Birmingham’s latest Premier League challenge.
Meanwhile, with a landmark three-game, two week tour of Hong Kong and China also due this month, as owner Carson Yeung looks to raise the profile of his club in his homeland, this summer could prove to be the most important in Birmingham City’s history.