Neil McDonald says West Ham United are ready for the step up in class of opposition when they face FSV Mainz in the first game of their Germany tour on Saturday.

Mainz finished 13th in the Bundesliga last term and this coming season will be their fifth in a row at the top level.

The Hammers have recorded victories over Cork City, Boreham Wood, AFC Bournemouth and Colchester United so far this summer, and with just over a month until the big kick-off remaining, they face three games in Germany.

Assistant boss McDonald was pleased with the first day of the tour, which involved a flight from Heathrow to Frankfurt and a transfer to the first base in Mainz, and is ready to kick-on.


"We had a decent enough flight and then just a small journey to the hotel," he said, "We really wanted to get Tuesday's game out of their legs, so the ones who played more than the rest did a bit of a pool warmdown.

"The others who didn't play so much went for a walk up and down the hills to stretch their legs off and we'll be nice and fresh for Thursday when we start the football sessions again leading up to the three games we've got, which we're really looking forward to.

"The priorities for the trip are to give the players more game time, pushing them up from 60 minutes to 75 to 90 almost, and trying to get everyone through without getting injured.

"The competition for places at the moment is very good because almost everybody is fit, which is great, and it's up to everybody to try and impress the manager for who he is going to pick for the first game of the season.

"Pre-season is all about the first game. That's Cardiff and that's what we're working to."

The Hammers also played three games in Germany last pre-season, so McDonald is well aware of what to expect in the coming ten days.

He continued: "The three games which we've picked in Germany are going to be very difficult. The three we had here last year were very, very good for the team.

"We have to work on our shape because they'll be a little fitter than us as their season starts a little earlier. Then when we have the ball we have to keep it a little better, so we're not working too hard when we haven't.

"There's lot of things we can work on and hopefully we can do that over the next three games."

The Hammers have been back in training for two-and-a-half weeks now and McDonald has been impressed with the progress.

"It's all based around fitness," he explained. "We complement that with the ball - we have to have the base [fitness], which I think they've got and they had when they came back. They worked over the off season, and they've steadily progressed over the two weeks we've been in.

"We're happy with where we are so far. We've seen a little bit of progress in every one of the games we've had - we seem to be keeping the ball better, we're certainly creating chances and we've certainly put it in the back of the net.

"The three games we're going to play here will be a stiffer test, so that's a test in itself to make sure they're up for it and they're fit enough to get through a game where they'll have to work that bit harder.

"We'll keep on working each day to progress the lads, that's on their fitness as well as their football ability, tactically, technically and mentally all together as individuals, as a unit and as a team.