By Anthony Marshall - Newcastle United Club Reporter
They may have been away for seven weeks but assistant manager John Carver believes the "buzz" remains around Newcastle United, after putting the players through their paces on the opening day of pre-season training.
Having concluded fitness testing earlier in the week in small groups, the Magpies squad gathered together as a whole on Thursday as preparations for th 2012/13 season get underway.
And following the double training session - which will be a regular theme over the next week or so - Carver told nufc.co.uk: "It's great to be back.
"We've got a few more days to prepare than we had last year so we just did a really light session today and took it easy on them.
"It was a light, technical session split into three groups. One did some technical work with Steve (Stone, first team coach), one did some work with me on the football side of things with possession and passing, and the other group did some running.
"It was good. It was short, sharp and good quality training.
"We broke for lunch and then had half the group in the gym doing some boxing and half doing a body circuit outside, so they've had a full day of it.
"It's a bit disjointed in a sense because you've got the international lads who aren't back until later this month.
"They are big personalities and characters, but the lads who are here now have worked extremely hard and the buzz from last season has continued. That can only be a good thing."
As Carver explained, the footballs were out on the first day back for United's stars, which is now a common theme of pre-season training.
Long gone are the days of simply gruelling, endurance runs, as a more scientific approach sweeps through the beautiful game.
And the Magpies' assistant boss has helped plan a similar schedule to that which proved so successful last year, as the Club secured a fifth-place Premier League finish.
"Myself and Steve are from the old school, which was just run, run, run, but everybody is going away from that now and it is more scientific," said Carver.
"It's proved you don't need to run up hills or go on ten-mile runs and break people's backs in the first few days.
"It can be done properly, and as long as you are hitting the right targets and getting the right sort of things out of the players then there is no reason why you can't do it with the ball.
"We did that last year and we didn't have a bad season, so hopefully that will continue for us."
Season tickets for the 2012/13 campaign are now on sale and are the only way to guarantee your seat for every home game.