Albion striker Craig Mackail-Smith has vowed to return stronger and fitter next season after missing out on Wembley.

Mackail-Smith is enjoying his first proper break from work in more than year after beating Achilles and ankle injuries to make seven substitute appearances at the end of the 2013-14 campaign.

But he has revealed he will soon start putting in extra hours again to be ready for a productive pre-season.

Albion will kick-off under a new boss for the third successive year with Tim Sherwood still favourite to replace Oscar Garcia in charge.

Mackail-Smith said: “I was in every day last summer and it was difficult, it was a slow process but it had to be done. I’m bitterly disappointed we are not going to Wembley but it gives me a chance to get some down time and then get myself 100% right for next season.

“I need to do some strength work – and I will do that myself over the summer months.

“I need to do some cardio work to fine-tune myself.

“Then I need to get a good pre-season under my belt to be firing on all cylinders for next season.”

Albion’s players will have a new boss to impress when they report for training at their impressive Lancing headquarters.

Mackail-Smith believes experienced on-pitch additions can help the Seagulls push for promotion again.

Speaking before he knew of Oscar’s resignation, he added: “We had Keith (Andrews) and Wardy (Stephen Ward) on loan – and Jesse (Lingard) came in and did fantastic.

“There are a lot players we need to replace so it is down to the manager and the chairman to have who they need in place.”

“It’s just getting a few more people in, maybe a bit more experience and push on for next season.”