SAMIR Carruthers has first-hand experience of pre-season under Karl Robinson and has warned his new Oxford United teammates it will be one of their toughest.

The U’s players return to work this morning for two days of testing at Abingdon School.

United’s squad will be put through the dreaded VO2 max test – which assesses the maximum amount of oxygen you can consume – as part of a tough start.

Robinson’s side will then head to Ireland for a training camp, before three games on successive evenings over July 9-11.

Carruthers, who has gone through four pre-seasons with the U’s boss while at Milton Keynes Dons, will know what to expect today.

But that does not mean the 25-year-old midfielder, signed last Thursday on a season-long loan from Sheffield United, is relishing the prospect of a tough couple of weeks.

He said: “I do know (what is coming) – and it will be a shock to the boys.

“There is a lot of running, but there is always football as well.

“He always wants to play the right way, so if we can be fit and be able to play football I think we will have a great chance.”

Carruthers added: “It’s probably one of the harder pre-seasons I’ve done in my career.

“As much as I love being here and being under Karl, I don’t enjoy his pre-seasons, so I won’t be looking forward to them.

“But I know for a fact, after those pre-seasons, going into that first game I feel sharp and I feel fresh.

“Even though it is hard – you have to put it in – you will feel better coming out of it.”

Over his eight-year managerial career, Robinson’s sides have been fast starters and the former Liverpool academy coach is yet to lose the opening league game of a season.

During his time at MK Dons and Charlton Athletic, he averaged 9.25 points across the first five matches.

And Carruthers, who won promotion from Sky Bet League One with Robinson in 2014-15, believes United will be in tip-top condition when they take on Barnsley at Oakwell on Saturday, August 4.

The Republic of Ireland Under 21 international said: “From my experience, anyone can win the first game because everyone is up for it.

“It doesn’t matter who you are, no-one is low on confidence.

“We need to get off to a good start and these are the games you want to play in against good sides who you can test yourself against.”