The New Saints boss Scott Ruscoe expects his players back in training in the coming weeks as he looks to prepare his side for the Europa League campaign.

Under normal circumstances, the Saints would already be preparing for their European competition qualifier fixtures, which would usually take place in the coming weeks.

However, delays to domestic competitions across the continent has meant the start dates for next season’s UEFA Champions League and Europa League have been pushed back.

Ruscoe is hoping his players will return sooner rather than later.

He said: “The players have been doing a bit more now in terms of training.

“They’ve been given a schedule which means they’re doing something Monday, Wednesday and Friday now.

“On Wednesdays, all the players get together for circuit training via Zoom with the strength and conditioning coach,

“We are assessing how much they’re running and other things, so we know where they’re at when we return to proper training soon.

“Hopefully we should be back in over the next week or so.”

Ruscoe insisted players needed weeks of preparation for Europe.

“The Europa League starts on August 27 so we need a good six or seven weeks of training before that starts, so the players will be wanting to get back into it soon.

“We’ll be making sure the protocol is all sorted with regards to Covid-19, and we’ll make sure everyone is safe, but we are hoping that will happen very soon.”

It has been almost four months since TNS drew 2-2 at home against Barry Town United, which was the last fixture played before entering lockdown.

Since then, players have been out of action both on the pitch and in the training ground.

However Ruscoe has been happy with the attitude of his players, who he believes are eager to get back on the pitch.

He said: “It’s been ok – we haven’t had an awful lot of information to give them over the past month or so.

“It’s very difficult as a player, because all you want to do is get back in and start training again.

“The players have been great throughout and it’s clear they want to get back to it and get back to winning things again and being in the right position, as we have been for many years.

“We have all been disappointed with what’s happened last season.

“It’s not ideal and it’s something unusual to us, so it was tough to take, but we’ll be doing all we can to get back on top next season,” added the Saints chief.