ROTHERHAM United's summer fitness regime will be like no other this year due to social distancing and health and safety restrictions amidst the Covid-19 pandemic.
As well as players working in ones initially when they report back for duty this week, the club can't yet finalise friendlies and an overseas training camp looks out of the question.
Assistant manager Richie Barker has mapped out a pre-season plan but says some aspects are up in the air as the long build-up to the 2020/21 season, expected to start in late August or early September, gets underway.
“We have also had a conversation with clubs about possible friendlies but we don't know what football will look like in August,” he said.
“It may be that we are allowed to play as many friendlies as we like. It may be that we can only play one.”
Even though the Government is bringing forward proposals to safely reduced the two metre social distancing rule, restrictions remain that impact on the typical match day routine of football pros.
Barker explained: “At the moment we are talking about different areas to get changed and showered.
“To have a game at the training ground, for example, we may not be able to use showers. It might sound like a trivial thing but Newcastle United, for example, aren't going to come down and play us on our training ground if they can't get a shower afterwards when they've got a three-hour journey home.
“It is about trying to keep things as local as possible.
“We have even had a conversation about if we play in the stadium then we can't use the changing rooms and concourse.
“Some of that stuff is out of my hands. All I can do from a football point of view is recommend when the friendlies are, who we play and how we go about it.”
Rotherham traditionally start their batch of friendlies with a match against Parkgate FC, who share their training complex at Roundwood.
Added Richie: “We like to put a little bit of something back into non-league and help the local clubs wherever we can and on the flip side of that is those games give our lads a chance to play 45 minutes, 60 or 70 minutes. Normally we always start with non-league friendlies but I don't know if non-league football will have kicked off by the time we can play.”
First team squad members are back in today ahead of the start of fitness work on Wednesday.