West Ham skipper Nolan eyes pre-season edge

Sam Allardyce's side were back in training slightly early on Monday and the 31-year-old believes that this headstart will benefit the Hammers in the upcoming campaign
West Ham captain Kevin Nolan feels that the club's early return to pre-season training could give them an edge over their Premier League rivals next season.

The Hammers were back at the club's Chadwell Heath training base on Monday after their summer break before heading off to a week-long training camp in Ireland.

Sam Allardyce's side take on Cork City in their first pre-season friendly on Sunday and Nolan is confident that the preparations will stand the squad in good stead for the first game of the new season, at home to Cardiff City in August.

5/2 West Ham are 5/2 with BetVictor to finish in the top half of the Premier League
"I think the first couple of weeks of pre-season are about consolidating, getting a fitness base and making sure you don't pick up too many injuries early on," he told the club's official website.

"Looking at all the boys, we've done the bits and bobs we were set out to do by the fitness team over the summer, and we've got our first game on Sunday which we're looking forward to.

"We've got to make sure that, step by step, we get fitter and fitter and are ready and raring to go for the first game of the season.

"I think we're one of the first Premier League teams back with the season seven weeks away. Sam's always done it this way, I've always found that he does it the right way and the plan is that we get off to another fantastic start this season."

The 31-year-old, who scored a hat-trick in West Ham's 4-2 win over Reading on the final day of last season, added that the first day back is not quite the shock to the system as it was in years gone by.

"We had a bit of a light jog, but nothing too heavy, like the old days when you'd come in and run until you were sick," he remarked. "It's not like that now, it's about building fitness. This is the start of a seven-week period to get ready for Cardiff."