YORK City summer signing Jake Hyde has told his new team-mates not to expect a "friendly" welcome in Scotland.
The Minstermen continue their pre-season programme against Raith Rovers tonight, as part of a north-of-the-border tour that will also pit them against last season's Scottish Cup winners St Johnstone on Saturday.
Hyde will be revisiting an old haunt this evening, having scored the only goal on his last visit to Stark's Park - a 1-0 win for his former club Dundee in January 2012.
The 24-year-old striker spent just over a year in Scotland with two separate spells at Dundee sandwiching a brief stay in Dunfermline and, while City are likely to enjoy great hospitality at their Stirling University training base, Hyde believes Raith and St Johnstone will not be as convivial on the football pitch.
Bracing himself for two challenging contests, the ex-Barnet forward said: "The Scottish game is a bit different to the English game - it's a bit slower but a bit more physical.
"These matches might be called friendlies but they won't be to them. They will be competitive games and they will both be decent sides.
"They won't pull a foot out of a tackle and they will be 100 per cent committed, so we need to go there with the same attitude because we are all practicing for the season. Hopefully, we can start to get to know each others' games, pass the ball quickly and click as a team."
On their return from Scotland, City will tackle FA Cup finalists Hull City, two-time European champions Nottingham Forest and SkyBet League One title favourites Sheffield United before their 2014/15 curtain raiser at Tranmere.
Having already lost 2-0 to Championship outfit Sheffield Wednesday at the weekend, Hyde reasons that such a demanding pre-season programme should prove beneficial, adding: "It's a fantastic schedule and, hopefully, we can lift our standards in all the games.
"It's brilliant to test yourself against the big sides because, fingers crossed, you will then be that bit sharper and fitter to get the season off to a good start."
Hyde also feels that City boss Nigel Worthington's punishing fitness drills over the last fortnight will provide ideal preparation for the nine-month slog of a league season.
"It's been very tough but that's what pre-season is about and exactly what you need to get that base fitness for the season," the one-time England 'C' international explained. "The gaffer has put us through our paces - that's for sure - but all the boys have worked fantastically hard.
"It's been intense but that should carry us through the season so we shouldn't complain, as much as we would like to!"
Despite a record of 45 goals from 163 professional outings, including nine in Scotland, Hyde is not placing a priority on netting prolifically during City's friendly matches, saying: "Pre-season games, to be honest, are all about running and getting my base fitness, as well as learning how the team plays and trying to be a part of that. It's obviously nice if you score a few goals but that won't come into my head until the season starts."
Nor will he be concerned if he doesn't get the campaign off to a flier, as he managed last term when he hit the target five times for Barnet in as many August fixtures.
"I'll just take it as it comes," he said of his fortunes in front of goal. "I will just be going out every week to do what I can for the team and the most important thing is the three points.
"If I can help that happen by scoring straight away, then that would be fantastic but, if I don't get a couple of goals straight away and the team are winning, I won't let that bother me. It's a long season and, whether I'm scoring or not at the start of the season, I will be getting my head down and working hard."
Equally, Hyde does not want to restrict himself by proposing an ideal goal haul for the coming campaign.
His biggest tally in a single season stands at 14 for Barnet in 2012/13 with Hyde insisting: "I don't set targets because I don't like to put a cap on it.
"I just like to go out every week and see how many goals I can score. It's all about trying your best to score as many goals as you can in every game."
Raith will be playing their third pre-season friendly tonight, having drawn 2-2 at semi-pro Lowland League outfit Edinburgh City last week and 1-1 against St Johnstone at the weekend.