Rotherham United No 2 Paul Raynor has praised the graft which has transformed Millers midfielder Michael Tidser.
Tidser has stood out in pre-season, after spending the second half of last season out on loan at Ross County.
Raynor said: “He’s come back fitter, he’s come back sharper, he now understands how we play and the energy levels he needs.
“He’s gone away and, fair play to him, he’s worked incredibly hard on his fitness and is reaping the rewards now.
The 24-year-old was an influential figure in Tuesday night’s 2-0 victory at Conference Premier side Alfreton Town, and Raynor added: ““He was always a talented footballer who was a good passer of the ball.
“If you’re going to play for us, though, you need to be box to box, you need that energy, you need to be able to press the ball.”
The Millers were good value for their win at the Impact Arena against the non-leaguers managed by ex-Rotherham centre-half Nicky Law.
“I’ve known Nicky a long, long time. He certainly gets his teams organised and playing for him. They made it difficult for us in the first half,” Raynor said.
“They were very compact, they sat loads of men behind the ball and they were a threat on the counter, but I thought, second half, there was a lot more penetration in our play and we asked them a lot more questions.”
Winger Ryan Hall finished the match wearing a bandage after a clash of heads but has been given the all-clear.
“Ryan’s just got a couple of stitches in his head,” Raynor added. “It looked quite a nasty knock at one point and was a little bit worrying but he got back out there and he’s fine.
“He’ll get better and better the fitter he gets and the more time he has on the pitch getting to know how we play.”
Ex-Manchester United star Jonathan Greening has left the Millers after appearing in two pre-season friendlies.
Only a handful of tickets from Rotherham’s 2,600 allocation remain for the Championship opener at Derby on August 9.