Queens Park Rangers defender Clint Hill is hoping his hard work in pre-season will pay off when the 2011/2012 Barclays Premier League season gets underway.
Pre-season training is in full flow for Neil Warnock's side ahead of their first friendly against Harrow Borough on Friday, and Hill is happy to be working hard in what is traditionally the worst time of year for professional footballers.
Speaking to the club's official website, he said: "It's mentally and physically tough, but you've got to do it.
"I'm lucky enough, or unlucky enough, to have done about three or four pre-seasons under the gaffer, so I know what's coming.
"You're mentally prepared, but it's definitely hard - if not the hardest - I've ever done as a player."
Hill was a permanent fixture in an impressive QPR defence last season. Dubbed a 'hero' by manager Warnock, he helped the Hoops to an Npower Championship winning campaign. The versatile centre half, who can also play left-back, played in 44 out of 46 league games for the west Londoners, and helped them to their tally of 25 clean-sheets.
Now, after paying his dues in the lower leagues, the 32-year-old is excited to be playing in the top flight of English football.
"I'm excited about the new season. It's my first proper crack at the Premier League," said the defender.
"Hopefully I'll get the opportunity to play a few games in the top league, and see what it's all about."
QPR will kick-off their first campaign in the top flight since the 1995-96 season against Bolton Wanderers at Loftus Road, and on the game Hill added: “We need to be ready for the opening day of the season.
"We'll be mentally and physically strong. We've got some good players here, a great group of lads and have got nothing to fear.
"It's going to be hard, we might get a few beatings - that's just the nature of the league. We'll definitely be competitive. No matter what happens, we'll give it a right good go."