Hamilton ACCIES boss Billy Reid is looking forward to a definitive 10-day period which could make-or-break their season ahead.
Accies will play in the Oban tournament this weekend against Dundee United and Alloa before heading south to Durham University where they will face Newcastle and Sunderland ahead of their friendly meeting with Bolton Wanderers.
The games mark an increase in the intensity of pre-season training and Reid is confident that it will allow his fledgling young side the chance to knit together.
"We have signed a few new players [including keeper Kevin Cuthbert] and this gives them the chance to get some game time and get to know one another," he said.
"The facilities down south should give us the chance to start gelling together as a team.
"We are going to be putting out one of the youngest First Division teams the league has ever seen and it is important that we get in as much preparation as we can.
"I think it's been good up until now but this is where we will start to step it up a little bit."
While Reid is aiming to sign another three players before the end of August, he will still be in charge of an extremely young team.
In that respect, he needs the experienced guys within the squad, such as skipper Alex Neil, to be in amongst it every week.
It was a fourth-placed finish for Accies last term and Reid is optimistic that his youngsters can improve on that.
"We lost our way in the middle of the season but overall, considering just how young a side we had, we did not too badly," he said.
"You always set the bar a little higher than the last time and we'll see how we cope with it."