MILLWALL midfielder Nicky Bailey expects to come back fitter and stronger next season after following a strict fitness regime over the summer.
Bailey recovered from a slipped disc to make an impressive finish to the 2013-14 campaign but says he is determined to be in even better shape over the coming year.
"I have been trying a lot harder over the course of the summer to get in shape and hopefully I'll reap the benefits of that when the season starts," Bailey said.
"Last year I didn't have much of a pre-season and I was injured as well so it was hard to get going. This year I've got no excuses.
"I had a freak injury. It was annoying but, touch wood, hopefully I'll play a lot more games this year.
"When I saw the specialist in London he said I had a few issues with my back so I've got keep on top of things and look after myself."
Boss Ian Holloway has said that Bailey is one of the names under consideration for the Lions captaincy – and the 30-year-old is open to taking the armband.
He added: "I don't really do social media but people have been telling me about what's been said. If the gaffer picks me then I'll be happy to do it.
"If not, there are a lot of other lads who want to be captain as well. I'm sure whoever gets it will do a good job.
"I'll always talk to the rest of the team – it's just the way that I play – so to be captain would be an added bonus."
Bailey scored the opening goal in Saturday's 2-2 friendly draw with Stevenage – just moments after he was on the end of a crunching tackle that cut open his shin.
"The referee said it wasn't a foul so I lost my head once I saw the gash, but it's okay now," Bailey said.
"It was a big game for them so they were always going to come out all guns blazing.
"I've been in the position before playing against higher-level opposition and you want to do well.
"But I didn't really expect that kind of tackle and I lost my head for a bit.
"The physio asked me to come off but we were only playing 45 minutes each and it's important to get fit.
"The Dartford game last week was a shock to the system for a few of us but we'll get a lot fitter with the more games we play.
"Ollie knows what he's doing and he's got a good team behind him. We're listening to everything he says and he's working us hard."