HIGH fitness levels combined with the addition of quality players at League Two level have impressed Luke McCormick this pre-season, and he is doing anything but taking his first-choice goalkeeper tag for granted.

The Coventry-born stopper made 21 appearances for Town last season, benefitting from Lawrence Vigouroux’s absence due to international commitments with Chile and the turbulent nature of the 25-year-old’s conclusion to his four-year Swindon career.

Naturally, McCormick has fallen into many fans’ number one choice between the sticks.

But ahead of Town’s opening pre-season friendly against Brimscombe and Thrupp tomorrow night, the 35-year-old is determined to prove himself once more in match situations.

He said: “I was happy to finish last season between the sticks - that doesn’t mean it will be the case this time around.

“I’ve experienced being number two, and it’s frustrating.

“On the flip side, if you’ve got the shirt then you can be in a good place and it’s down to the player to hold onto it.

“Competition will always be there, no matter how old a ‘keeper is. We’ve got a good department and we all help each other to improve.

“You can’t replicate what happens on a match day. It’s in match situations where you learn about each other.

“There are plenty of legs and plenty of quality in the team from what I have seen - even in this short space of time.”

McCormick was also complimentary of Noel Hunt’s decision to introduce the Town squad to boxing at Brunel ABC.

A one-hour session took place on Friday afternoon - the first of many workouts planned for the team prior to their first League Two fixture of the season at Scunthorpe on Saturday, August 3.

Not immune to boxing, McCormick said previous work in boxing gym under Tony Pulis at Plymouth Argyle helped his former team to bond quickly.

He added: “It’s a break from the normal. That’s one of the biggest benefits of coming to a boxing gym - it’s a different type of fitness and discipline.

“Everyone enjoyed it, and I thought everyone applied themselves really well.

“You have to be fit in a sport like this, and eventually at Plymouth we were sparring against each other.

“It certainly helps a team to bond as well.”