The North West Warriors are back in pre-season mode with Ian McGregor's charges currently undergoing their Strength & Conditioning programme ahead of what will be an extremely busy summer.

Andy McBrine's men enjoyed a respectable campaign in 2017 and although they struggled against a dominant Leinster Lightning; two wins, two draws and one no-result from six games against the Northern Knights represented genuine progress.

Head Coach McGregor has just returned from Ireland Under-19 Coaching duties in New Zealand but has hit the ground running to ensure that his squad is ready for their opening trip to Oak Hill on 1 May.

It would appear that the North West have decided on a different approach to pre-season this year given that they haven't named a 'Winter Training Squad'.

Instead, all of last year's panel (minus the lads who took part in the U-19 World Cup and the Irish contracted players) have been invited to the S&C sessions, no doubt aimed at ensuring that it is up to the players to commit to the cause.

It was no secret that McGregor's outfit were dogged by unavailability over the past few seasons and it seems likely that the Union wants to place the onus on those who are prepared to put in the hard yards.

As well as that it seems certain that the Union is determined to have Irish International skipper, William Porterfield, on board this season and while yet to be confirmed, it would appear that the former Donemana man is a key component of Warriors' planning.

It would be little surprise to see Niall O'Brien back in blue and green this time as well; the wicket-keeper/batsman was a big success during his short stint in the region last time and it is believed they are very keen to secure his return.

Ahead of preparations the Head Coach has also hinted that there may well be another new face added to the squad before the 3-dayer in Wicklow. Whether that is a local player or another of Cricket Ireland's contracted pool remains to be seen.

"We prefer to go about our business with as little fuss as possible and it's just a bit early yet to be able to confirm everything ahead of the new season" he began.

"We have a clear plan in mind and that's what we've started working towards. We feel we made good progress last year and it is up to all of us collectively to keep that momentum going."