Paul On Progress

Paul Goddard says that the squad are looking to build on the achievements of last season's seventh place - but is under no illusion about the task ahead.

As the players prepare for the first pre-season game of the summer, at Leyton Orient on Friday evening, Paul insists that last season's placing, despite providing high expectancy for the coming campaign, is not a problem to him.

"We don't see it as a weight round our neck. It is something we achieved last year and it is something we will obviously aim for next year," he says.

"People understand how it was achieved and there is no reason we can't work at it again. We will have to wait and find out if we can do so - but we do want to build on last year and it would be quite an exceptional achievement to finish above seventh."

As for the players, the majority of whom have just returned from warm weather training in Portugal, Paul says: "Everyone turned up who should have and I have to say we haven't got any fatties amongst us!

"They have all looked pretty trim, and the days when players let themselves go in the summer has passed now. The demands and speed of the professional game are so great that people reach such levels it doesn't happen.

"All the lads are fine except for those who are recuperating. Don is doing well, Sebastien Schemmel had done some work with the physio, and of course Paolo has been rehabbing very hard at the clinic in Italy before returning ready and fit."

Friday evening may offer the first glimpse of summer signing Youssef Sofiane, but, although he is the only outfield capture of the summer thus far, Paul warns against fans expecting too much of him.

"We mustn't get too carried away. Youssef is an 18-year-old boy who is changing countries and has a lot to learn, but we feel he has some talent and massive potential," he says of the striker signed from Auxerre.

"But we mustn't put too much weight on his shoulders too early."