The New Saints boss Scott Ruscoe insists his side’s preparations for their Europa League campaign on August 27 are well on track.

TNS are in their third week of pre-season training and the Park Hall boss has turned his eye onto potential friendlies, but admits the lack of Saints’ usual warm-up clashes is tough to take.

But Ruscoe believes the friendlies he has set up – against fellow Cymru Premier League sides and English clubs – will put them in a good position when the real work starts.

“The friendlies are shaping up well, the players are impressing and shaping up really well,” he said.

“They’re young, enthusiastic and hungry to get into the team and want to show what they have to offer.

“Friendlies-wise, we have a few lined up; we have Barry and Bala from our league, Telford, which will be behind closed doors, and Liverpool’s under-23s.

“And a possible mix of Wolves’s U23s and senior players.

“We’re playing teams who can offer us a physical and technical challenge.

“Look at Telford – they will be physical, they will be up for it after a few weeks into their pre-season while Liverpool will be technical.

“Here, we may not have a lot of the ball and will have to get into a shape that we usually come up against, normal a 4-2-3-1.

“The friendlies are as they are because teams we normally play are either still finishing their year, or starting it, or some clubs still have players on furlough.

“The National League and League Two clubs won’t be back until October and September, respectively, but we need the games now.

“It’s a difficult time – we usually play Glasgow Rangers but they start their season on Saturday so that’s another one we can’t play.

“But we’re still happy. By the time we play our first Europa League game, we’ll have had five or six friendlies.

“We’re not preparing specifically one team but once August 10 comes, we’ve got 17 days to get it right.”

Ruscoe insist his players are looking good in training, and he puts that down to an injection of new blood, something he is keen to add to.

However, the Saints boss is keeping his cards close to his chest over the identities of new recruits to Park Hall.

“Training has been really good – the players look fit and sharp,” he added.

“We had a game the other day the lads were flying. A couple of new signings does help and we’re looking to to get someone in, that we’re hoping to sign.

“New signings do help. We can’t share who that player is just yet, but I can say he’s got lots of experience and we’re just waiting something on the player.”

Meanwhile, TNS have given their backing to a UK-wide football initiative called ‘Heads Up’ with a ‘Mentally Healthy Football Declaration’, as all of UK football recognising that mental health is as important as physical health and pioneering a ‘team approach’ on this important issue.