Mark Hughes' preparation for a new campaign is renowned as probably the most demanding in the Premier League, although his players admitted they felt the benefit during the last weeks of their long-haul season.
But reserve coach Hodges has sent his proteges away for their summer break with strict instructions to watch their diet and fitness in readiness for an arduous build-up to the new season starting in August.
Hughes' players will be back at Carrington as early as the first week of July before heading to a training camp in Germany, but Hodges revealed: "We'll be back in two days before the first team.
"It's a big group and there's some testing to be done, then we'll be back in full training. It's important for my boys, especially the ones coming up from the Under-18s.
"They have got to bridge the gap now, from the Academy to playing with the pros. They have to work harder, and at a younger age you can improve more in the summer months than you do when you're a little bit older.
"I've not said don't have a holiday - everybody deserves that, none more so than these lads after the hard work they put in this season. But I'm hoping they come back lean and mean and hungry to do well.
"It's a very good group and I'm looking forward to working with them again. We'd like to think one or two of them will be staking a claim to getting on the first-team trips. That's what they should be aiming for now."