CHRIS Gunter insisted his Reading FC teammates are prepared for a testing pre-season after the Royals returned to Hogwood Park today (Monday).

The Welsh international right-back was among several first-team players to report for training this morning after a short break away.

Meanwhile, club captain Paul McShane said Royals are thrilled to welcome their newcomers.

Royals have a full week of training before they face Eastleigh in their first pre-season fixture on Saturday, June 30.

From there, they will face teams including Premier League sides Crystal Palace and Fulham before kicking off the new season against Derby County at Madejski Stadium on August 3.

And Gunter insisted he is relishing the hard work ahead.

“The first couple of days are always busy,” he stated.

“Things change slightly in terms of schedules.

“It’s always nice to be back. Everyone is laughing and joking on the first day because we haven’t seen each other in a long time.

“I’m looking forward to it now. We know it’s going to be hard but it has to be hard work to get ready for the season ahead.

Royals will be subjected to a fitness test on their first day back so Clement can assess whether his players kept in shape during their holiday time.

And Gunter continued: “It’s important that you keep yourself in good shape.

“As soon as you finish (the season) you’re given a (fitness) programme.

“I’m sure in an hour or so we’ll be tested from where we were.

“It’s important that you keep yourself in good shape because football has changed now and if you don’t then you get found out very quickly.”

New signing Andy Yiadom, who could provide competition for 28-year-old Gunter, was also pictured at the training ground this morning.

Adrian Popa, who spent the second half of last season on loan at Saudi Arabian side Al-Hilal, has also reported to Hogwood.

David Meyler and John O’Shea are also set to train with the Royals for the first time this week.

And club skipper Paul McShane hailed the new arrivals.

He told Reading FC: “I’ve known them for a good few years. I knew Dave (Meyler) when I was at Sunderland and I knew John (O’Shea) through the Irish team and Man United.

“It’s great to see familiar faces and they are two good lads who have a lot to offer.

“I know them as characters and I think they are the right characters to be brought in.

“John O’Shea has a wealth of experience and that will be vital for us and Dave is a good and honest player who will give everything.”