Hammers captain Kevin Nolan is pleased to be back at work as the players return to Chadwell Heath to start their pre-season training.

The squad head to Ireland on Tuesday as they are thrown straight into preparations for the 2013/2014 Premier League season, with getting back to top fitness being top of the agenda.

And Nolan has explained what he and the squad can expect over the next few weeks and admits it’s great to back with his team-mates.

He told “I think the first couple of weeks of pre-season are about consolidating, getting a fitness base and making sure you don’t pick up too many injuries early on.

“We’ve got to make sure that step-by-step we get fitter and fitter, and are raring to go when we face Cardiff City at the Boleyn Ground for the first game of the season.

“I think we’re one of the first Premier League teams back with the season seven weeks away. Sam’s always done it this way, I’ve always found that he does it the right way and the plan is that we get off to another fantastic start this season.”

And Nolan admitted returning to pre-season after six weeks off isn’t as hard as it used to be and that Sam Allardyce has the perfect formula for getting the best results out of the players during pre-season.

“It’s more of a meet-and-greet, because obviously the hard work starts on Tuesday in Ireland,” he said.

“We had a bit of a light job, but nothing too heavy, like the old days when you’d come in and run until you were sick. It’s not about that now, it’s about building fitness.

“They’ve got it spot on here. I’ve worked with the gaffer and Macca [Neil McDonald] for a long time and I know they get it right.”

West Ham’s first game of pre-season comes on Sunday against Cork City in Ireland.