Everton are bracing themselves to return for pre-season training just over a month after the end of the campaign.

The Blues know a seventh placed finish in the league this season is likely to secure qualification for the Europa League.

Only Leicester City winning the Champions League would deny them that route back into Europe.

And should they finish in seventh position then it would mean Everton start their Europa League campaign at the third qualifying round stage, with the first leg played on July 27.

The second leg follows on August 3 before the new Premier League season starts on the weekend of August 13.

Everton would still need to negotiate a two-legged play-off round on August 17 and 24 if they were to secure a place in the Europa League group stages.

It would leave Blues boss Ronald Koeman needing to bring his players back from their summer breaks early.

But a sixth placed finish looks certain to secure passage straight into September鈥檚 group stages.

Everton players in the Finch Farm gym during last pre-season

The league season ends with a trip to Arsenal on Sunday, May 21 after which Everton鈥檚 international players will join their countries.

England, Ireland, Wales and Belgium - for example - have World Cup qualifiers and friendly games scheduled for early June.

Koeman brought his Southampton squad back for pre-season training on June 29 ahead of the 2015/16 campaign - just 36 days after the end of the previous season - where they were headed into the Europa League at the third qualifying round stage, after finishing seventh.

Saints played their first friendly game on July 8 before playing two short games in the Audi Quattro Cup in Austria three days later.

A home friendly with Brighton followed by three games in the Netherlands after which they faced Vitesse in the Europa League on July 30.

Graziano Pelle scores the first goal during the UEFA Europa League third round qualifying football match between Vitesse Arnhem and Southampton in August 2015.

Southampton faced Espanyol in their final friendly of the summer on August 2 before the league season commenced a week later.

Koeman was deeply unimpressed with the pre-season schedule he inherited from Roberto Martinez after taking the Everton job in June.

The Dutchman brought the Blues鈥?training forward four days to kick-start a week of fitness tests and was also underwhelmed with the scheduling of games in the Dresden Cup, which saw Everton play two games in less than 24 hours.

Everton are considering a pre-season friendly in Tanzania as part of their expected new sponsorship deal with SportPesa.