Oxford United’s pre-season began in torrential rain yesterday, but the conditions did not dampen spirits as the squad met up for the first time in two months.

A quiet summer in the transfer market meant winger Sean Rigg was the only new face in the group.

The players had a meeting with the coaching staff to discuss the pre-season programme and went through light drills to assess their physical condition ahead of more rigorous sessions starting on Monday.

Despite the unseasonable weather U’s striker James Constable, who was the subject of two unsuccessful bids from Bristol Rovers during the close season, was delighted to start work.

“It’s good to be back in amongst the lads,” he said “It’s nice to go away and recharge the batteries, because we know it’s going to be a big season for the club, but towards the end you just want to get back in and starting.”

There are still more than five weeks before the U’s kick a ball in anger in the Capital One Cup, but their opening pre-season friendly, at home to West Ham, is only ten days away.

Avoiding injuries is U’s boss Chris Wilder’s priority during the build-up to the season, but the workload will steadily increase over the next few days.

He said: “It’s no good just absolutely smashing them, there’s a gradual build-up.

“But we’ve had the boys in through the summer, it’s not as if this is the first activity they’ve done since the last day of the season.

“They have been doing bits and pieces, which gives us a base to move forward pretty quickly.”

Some United players who had operations over the summer were spared the weather, and instead trained in the gym.