MAGPIES star Andre Boucaud says a summer representing Trinidad and Tobago in the Gold Cup was perfect preparation for the coming season.
The Notts midfielder has returned to a revamped dressing room with increased competition for places, but believes his time in the USA will stand him in good stead ahead of the League One campaign.
And Boucaud – who starred as Trinidad and Tobago reached the quarter finals of the competition, before being defeated by Mexico – is confident he can displace his new rivals in the side.
"It feels great to be back and I'm trying to work hard to get back into the team," he said.
"We've a lot of people in my position – you've got to work hard and if you don't do well someone else comes in.
"It's not ideal me missing a lot of the pre-season but it's not like I was on holiday – I was in a big tournament and training was hard.
"It was a great experience playing in big stadiums with big crowds. It was something I could never have turned down.
"We were running, it was double sessions every day, we were preparing for a big tournament just like here when you are preparing for League one."
The central midfielder returned to Meadow Lane for the Magpies' 3-3 draw with Ipswich Town last weekend, starring in an impressive second half performance.
He said: "We did well, we pressured them and from losing we came back to three all – it's something to be proud of.
"You've got to go in thinking there's three points on the line. I gave it my all and we got a good result in the end."
And while Boucaud enjoyed returning to action, the Ipswich game predominantly served to highlight the talent of Yoan Arquin, who topped an impressive performance with a thrilling solo goal.
"He went to the same cup competition as me and he's come back firing and hopefully with a couple of games I can do the same," Boucaud added.
"He played a couple of games which is good for him and good for the team.
"If he does anything like this (for the rest of the season), I think he'll be gone in January. You know the kid can play he's just got to be more consistent – he's a great player."
Despite being aware of the tough task that faces Notts this season, Boucaud is confident of the club finding success in League One.
He said: "Since I came here everyone's been working hard and everyone seems like good people.
"If we keep working hard I'm sure we'll do well."
And Boucaud's confidence remains despite County's first two league tests of the season looking tough, against Sheffield United and Peterborough United.
He added: "They are big teams – Peterborough have come down from the championship, but I think we can perform against them.
"We've got to go there and be confident and believe we can win. If we do, then I think we can get a good result."