Reds manager David Flitcroft believes the recent international break has given his side a mental boost.
The Reds face Millwall at the New Den this afternoon looking for their first away win of the season – and one which could lift them out of the relegation zone.
“Mentally I think it’s been good for the players to spend a bit of time with their families, but we’ve got the players to do the work they needed to do,” he said. “The next four to six weeks are going to be intense as you’re going to get, so it was really important we re-freshened the lads up.”
Loan striker Marcus Pedersen played for Norway during the international fortnight, as did Stoke City loan keeper Jack Butland who played 45 minutes for England Under-21s.
Defender Scott Wiseman made his debut for Gibraltar and youngster Paul Digby played for England Under-19s.
Flitcroft admitted: “The international boys who have come back have been sort of jaded, but it’s about individual management.”
But Flitcroft is boosted by the return of former Chelsea midfielder Jacob Mellis from an ankle injury for this weekend’s clash with The Lions.
And the Reds boss expects a tough test at one of the most intimidating grounds in the divison, especially against a Steve Lomas-managed side which Flitcroft expects to have plenty of energy.
“I think Steve [Lomas] probably found it a startling experience in his first five or six games [in charge] in the Championship, it probably took him by surprise I’d have thought,” he said.
“And then they [the club] have rectified things and got out and spent a lot of money recruiting good Championship players.
“We know we’re coming up against good quality Championship players and a team that has been moulded by Steve Lomas, someone who was really competitive as a player.
“I’d expect nothing less of a Steve Lomas team, it will have energy, desire and a real energy to win this football match.”