HEREFORD manager Josh Gowling says that having the experience of Jared Hodgkiss and Ryan Lloyd back in training has helped to increase intensity levels.

The Bulls saw both Saturday’s game at Spennymoor and Tuesday’s night’s home game against Chester postponed due to frozen pitches.

However, Gowling’s injury headache is now easing with skipper Hodgkiss and senior midfielder Lloyd both returning to training after long absences.

The Bulls manager is now looking to arrange friendly matches to help their return to full fitness.

“Jared (Hodgkiss) has been training with us, he’s had a scan which we’re waiting for the results but he’s been training,” said Gowling.

“Ryan (Lloyd) trained for the first time yesterday, we’re really pleased to have him training back again but he’s been out for three or four months so it’s going to take him a while to get fit.

“Ideally we’d like to arrange some friendly games for those lads, Jared (Hodgkiss), Thierry (Latty-Fairweather), (Ryan) Lloyd and Dino (Visser) is back training again the last couple of days.

“It’s really pleasing to have those guys back and I think we can go from strength to strength now we’ve got those lads training. They raise the standard of training massively, their expectations and good habits. It’s really pleasing to have them back in the group.

“We’ve got competition now which is something we’ve not had all season. Through the period when we’ve not been great we just been fitting square pegs in round holes.

“As soon as we’ve had players fit you can see the level and intensity of our play has increased drastically. I’d like to think with these guys back that we’ll go again.”

Hereford’s performances have improved lately but they remain without a five matches with an injury-time equaliser denying them victory in a 1-1 draw against Chorley.

The Bulls host Southport this Saturday, if the pitch is playable, and then prepare for a festive double-header against Kidderminster Harriers.

Gowling hopes that having experienced heads back in the side will help their younger members in the coming matches.

“That’s what you have them experienced players for those big games, the young lads can lean on them and to give them guidance,” added Gowling.

“If the lads keep playing the way they’re playing then some of the older lads are going to have a tough time getting back in the side.

“It’s really important over this Christmas period and going into January that we have a full squad to pick from so we can start climbing up the table and getting ourselves into contention.

“If you look at the results and performances that we’ve had if we had those senior players back we probably don’t concede right at the end against Chorley and probably put the games to bed against King’s Lynn and Darlington.