ROTHERHAM United's players have reported back for training in better condition than last year — and their tough Austrian training camp is still to come.
The squad have just completed their first week of pre-season training, a little over a month since they won the League One play-off final at Wembley.
And it is clear that the fitness the team had last season, the groundwork for which was laid last summer, has stood them in good stead.
That won't mean the players will have it any easier when they fly out to Austria tomorrow but manager Paul Warne stresses that the trip is as much about the mental as the physical side.
"The players have come back fitter than last year, and because they were fitter during the season just gone it is logical they would," Warne told the Advertiser.
"Also, they've not had much time off so they haven't de-conditioned as much.
"We will work them hard in Austria but it's not just about the physicality of it all, it's about the psycho and social part of it as well.
"They'll spend every minute of the day together and apart from the time people serve us food, we don't see anyone.
"I'm not taking them to Austria because the sun is going to shine, it's beautiful here, it's more the fact you have a captive audience 12 hours a day."
Newcomers Kyle Vassell and Zak Vyner will both get game time against Parkgate today.
First, the Millers take on Parkgate into today’s annual pre-season friendly at what will be a sun-baked Roundwood and Warne expects to give a run-out to as many of his players as possible.
"It's a good tradition we play Parkgate first. We have a great relationship with them, it’s World Cup day and hopefully we will get a good crowd,” he said.
"The lads have only been back in training this week, normally they are one four or five days down the line before we play Parkgate. We'll still he competitive obviously but it is just about getting 45 minutes into a few. We haven't done any 11 v 11 work yet so it will be their first introduction to it.
"We will play two different 11s and if I can get some younger lads on, I will. We will try and get as many pros on the pitch as we can and let the fans see them. It is going to be a sunny, hot day so it will be exhausting for both sets of players and hopefully it will be a good game and we will be injury free.”
Kick-off is at noon.
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