West Ham United goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski can't wait to see the Claret and Blue Army again.
The Poland international is looking forward to his fourth season as a Hammer, all the more for the return of supporters to London Stadium - starting with Saturday's Betway Cup match against Atalanta.
Speaking from this week's first-team brief training camp at Pennyhill Park, read on for Fabianski's thoughts on pre-season so far, the arrival of fellow goalkeeper Alphonse Areola and his excitement at kicking off the new campaign...
It’s been really enjoyable being back in pre-season training.
At the same time, we’ve been working really hard to get ourselves ready for the new season, so it’s been good to be back, working and preparing I believe in a very good way for the new season.
Everyone seems like they’re happy to be back – all the players, all the coaching staff, all the teammates, all the people involved in the Club – and to have that feeling again.
We created something special last season and we would just like to build on that and continue to have a great atmosphere within the group, because that helped us a lot to achieve what we did last year.
It’s completely different, playing in front of supporters.
Personally, I remember, first of all, struggling to get used to playing without any fans – it took a bit [of time], actually.
Now, to have them back again in the games against Celtic or Brentford, or even the last game of last season [against Southampton], it just feels completely different.
You feel their energy and I think sometimes it helps you with your performances and your focus during the game, so it’s nice to see them back and we are all excited to have them and play in front of them again next season.
Next season is going to be a different challenge for us because we’ll have our European games.
That’s a sort of adjustment we’ll have to make, and we’ll see how we deal with that. It’s a new experience for most of the players so I think that’s a nice challenge to have and we’re all really looking forward to it.
Hopefully as a group and as a Club, we will respond in a good way and it will be something that will push us on to basically get better as a team.
Since I’ve come back for this pre-season, it hasn’t really been mentioned a lot when it comes to us talking between ourselves. Our main focus at the moment is just to prepare ourselves well for the season, but once the competition gets closer, we’ll probably start to talk about it more.
My first impression of Alphonse Areola is very positive.
He’s a very good person and he just seems like a nice guy. You can see his quality as well out there in training.
With that competition, it’s always been there really. I’ve always had this thing in the back of my mind that each day you have to push yourself because you know that you have to always be up there with your standards and level of performances and deliver them week-in, week-out.
With new players coming in, it doesn’t matter their position. It always helps this feeling that you have to push yourself even more, you have to have this self-drive that will help you to keep delivering your performances at a good level, so I think that is what we always need as professionals, as goalkeepers.
It doesn’t matter the position, I think that’s what always happens when there’s a new player.
Facing Atalanta in the Betway Cup on Saturday will be another good challenge for us when it comes to pre-season games.
We’re going to be facing a very strong team that has been playing for some time already at a high level and competing strongly in Serie A, so I think that will be a good, good test for us.
Getting used to playing in front of our fans again at our home ground is another nice feeling, because they’ve been missed for a while.
It will be nice to see them back at the Stadium and it’s our final test before we start the season, against a really strong opponent, so it’s a nice challenge to have.
It’s nice that we’re starting our Premier League campaign against Newcastle United.
When games like against Newcastle [away] last season happen, somewhere in your mind you think you want to play against them again straight away to put things right.
It’s going to be a tough game for sure, playing away at their ground, but I think you always want to start the season in a strong way and all the lads will be ready, will be focused, and we will try to do our best to get a win over there.
We’ll do our best to push on this season.
It’s going to be challenging because most of us, during the season, will need to adjust and it will be a bit different for sure with European competition, but I think that’s a nice challenge to have as a professional.
Even from the first day I arrived back for pre-season, you can see that the manager is really pushing us and continues to be very demanding. He knows that the next season is massive for the Football Club and we all took that on board.
We all understand the importance of next season, so we will be ready and we will challenge ourselves to do our very best.