LIAM Boyce is feeling fit and raring to go for the start of Burton Albion’s 2017/18 season against Rochdale tomorrow.
The Northern Irish striker missed several months of action last year after picking up a knee injury in pre-season, eventually marking his Albion debut with a goal against Aston Villa on February 3rd having signed from Ross County over the summer.
Having missed the bulk of last season through that injury, Boyce says he feels fitter than ever before as he and The Brewers prepare to take on League One this season, starting with tomorrow’s game at home to Rochdale (3pm kick-off).
“Obviously I missed a lot of last season but in the summer I had two international games and they actually helped me,” Boyce said this week in his pre-match press conference.
“I just couldn’t wait to get back so I just stayed fit because I had so much time off. I came back, did pre-season, got through it and I feel fitter than I ever did.
“You have to put (last season) behind you. We finished the season well and had three wins in a row (against Derby County, Sunderland and Bolton Wanderers).
“We just missed out. We just have to get on with it and we know if we play as we did towards the end of last season, we’ll have a good season this (time).
“Last season, missing that long and watching just motivates you to show people what you can do and try to help the team and score goals.”
Boyce netted twice in pre-season against Alfreton Town and Premier League side Cardiff City, and he is hoping that bodes well for the upcoming campaign - particularly given his previous pre-season record at Ross County.
“I don’t usually score in pre-season!” Boyce said.
“But I scored two in the last two games, so hopefully I can keep that going and hopefully that’s a good sign - and a sign of things to come.
“I know a lot of players who play in League One - Northern Ireland have a few League One players. It’s a lot more physical and you just need to be ready.
“Everyone did really well during the runs in pre-season. We were told it was going to be the hardest pre-season we’ve done as we need to be physically fit and ready for anything, and I think we are.
“As a striker you go into every game thinking you’re going to score, so you need that confidence. There’s a lot of quality in the Championship but in League One it's a lot more physical and you still need to be on your A-game, and concentrate on everything you do.
“That’s what I plan to do.”