Rotherham United’s players are poised to enjoy a rare weekend of leisure, but only if they please manager Alan Stubbs.
The Millers are in the first week of the fortnight-long international and can earn their time off by meeting the demands of their boss in training.
Stubbs has some hard work lined up for his squad, along with group activities to build team spirit and a private match for players who have been out of the starting 11.
“We will certainly look to keep working on the shape of the team, with and without the ball, and on set-pieces, defending and looking to be a bit more creative,” the manager said.
“We will maybe look to try to do something together as a group, a bit of team bonding, whatever that is. We’ll look at that as the week goes on.
“There’ll be a game for some of the players who have not been involved as much as they would have liked to have been recently. Then we’ll think about giving them the weekend off if they train well and we get what we want out of them this week.”
Rotherham headed into the break on the back of encouraging performances against Championship pace-setters Huddersfield Town and Newcastle, although they are in bottom spot after taking six points from their opening 11 games.
Their next match sees them travel to second-placed Norwich City on October 15.
One player ready to put in the effort is Dominic Ball who has come to the fore in the last two matches alongside fellow youngster Dael Fry at the heart of the Millers’ defence.
“I think the break is an opportunity for us to push on even more,” the 21-year-old said. “It gives me the chance to do some extra stuff that you can’t do when there are so many games.
“It gives me the chance to do more power work and leg work. I’m sure that’s what a lot of the other lads will be doing as well.”
Fry, aged 19, is with the England Under-20s during the break, although New York Stadium teammate Izzy Brown, also 19, has been prevented from reporting for international duty by a bout of tonsillitis which affected him in the clashes against the Terriers and Magpies.
Former Rotherham United boss Neil Warnock, who masterminded last season’s 11-match unbeaten survival run, is expected to be named as the new manager of Cardiff City.
There will be no New York match for Warnock this season as the Millers have already played the Bluebirds at home.