Middlesbrough defender David Wheater insists the players are ready for the challenge of Championship football.The 22-year-old played 32 times in Boro's Premier League relegation season last year and says the squad all know what to expect this coming season.
"We can't keep thinking we're Premier League players, because we're not this season," he said.
"We're Championship players and we need to play like that - play tough and get out of the league."
Wheater is currently battling his way back to full fitness after having surgery on his knee earlier in the summer, forcing the England Under 21-international to miss the European Championships in June.
But he says he is not too far away from being match fit, and hopes to be in contention for the first game of the new Championship season against Sheffield United on 7 August.
"I feel fit but I'm not 100% match fit but I'm getting there - my knee is fine," he said.
"Hopefully I can get 80 or 90 minutes at Oldham on Wednesday, then against Millwall I'll definitely need the full 90 so I can be ready for the first game of the season."