Daniel Bentley has revealed how he and his Bristol City teammates welcomed their new signings to the club this summer.
Nigel Pearson has brought in four players so far, including 20-year-old French goalkeeper Stefan Bajic from Pau FC who will compete with him for the number one shirt.
Kal Naismith signed from Luton, Forest Green’s Kane Wilson and Mark Sykes who made the move from Oxford United have been welcomed to the West Country with open arms.
Bentley said: “We’ve done a couple of team bonding sessions if you like in regards to going out for some food. We had an afternoon here (the training ground) that had staff included as well where the chefs and everyone put on some food and drinks and stuff for us here, so that was really nice.”
The captain also went the extra mile to ensure the new faces felt supported from the off. “When each player signed I asked our player liaison Matt Parsons for their numbers, formally welcomed them to the club and just said if you need anything I’m here,” he explained. “A couple of them have asked various bits over the weeks and months.”
Since Pearson’s arrival, there has been a slow but sure cultural shift within the club, with an emphasis on togetherness and full commitment to a cause - both on and off the pitch.
The internal change has been reflected further by how the new additions, as well as their families, have been embedded.
He said: “I’ve actually got my other half to sort out a night out for the other halves of all the players, so they’re all getting together at some stage, don’t poke me on the date I have no idea - I kind of left her to that,” he said.
“Ultimately when players move, they move their whole families usually, and if your family life and your family are happy, then it’s only going to help and benefit what happens on the pitch.
“If the girls and the other halves of the new players feel welcome, then I only think that can enhance the relationships that we all have as individuals, as families, on matchdays when they’re all in the players lounge, all those little things can help, especially if players that are new to the area feel welcome.”
City’s skipper a few times has stated how he isn’t fond of pre-season but understands how it shapes the season ahead.
Entering what will be his fourth season as a Robins player, as well as his 13th as a player, it is this summer which he feels at his most positive.
A pre-season trip to Austria took place which made for good team building exercises, as well as focusing on in-game situations.
Pre-season matches at the training ground against League One opposition as well as wins over Plymouth Argyle and Premier League outfit Bournemouth have also put them in good stead.
And from the positivity created over the last five weeks or so, that optimism is being carried into the upcoming season.
He said: "In terms of pre-season this has probably been one of the favourites of my career just because of the way its run, the way we’ve performed as games, training has been very intense, I think you can see in the games that we’re very, very fit and it’s actually been enjoyable.
"Obviously it’s a grind at times but it has been enjoyable. We’re very confident but not overly confident. We understand there’s going to be ebbs and flows but we have to manage them when it comes.
"We’ve got a good honest, professional group both on the pitch and off it and in terms of atmosphere, I think it’s been consistently good.
“Pre-season we get the time to bond, go on pre-season tours and have time to build relationships both on and off the pitch with the new boys we’ve got and build on old relationships too.”