Rotherham United players old and new are back in training, and nobody is happier to be in action again than defender Frazer Richardson.
The right-back, who missed out on the run-in to the Millers’ Championship survival season last term because of injury, delayed his summer holiday so he could receive extra treatment at the club.
Now he’s relishing the chance to make his mark after recovering from the calf tear he picked up at Nottingham Forest in March.
“I’m looking to hit the ground running in pre-season, put the injury behind me and then look forward to a good season in the Championship,” he said. “I want to get myself back in the team.
“It was very frustrating last season for me last year. I still managed around 25 games but it was nowhere near as many as I’d have liked to have played.”
The 32-year-old, who faces competition for the right-back berth from new signing Lewis Buxton, returned with the rest of the squad for the start of pre-season work on Tuesday.
He believes last year’s experience, when the club defied a three-point Football League deduction to stay up in their first season under Steve Evans in the second tier, will make the Millers a tougher proposition.
“A season in the Championship definitely gives you more know-how,” he said. “You definitely learn lessons. I think , having come through a year in in the Championship, we’ll be all the stronger for it next season.”
Manager Evans has already made three signings, bringing in Buxton, left-back Joe Mattock and left midfielder Aidy White, and the club hope to add to that figure by the end of this week.
They have been linked with Emmanuel Ledesma, the right winger who did so well for them in a six-game loan spell last season and who is now a free agent.
Richardson, meanwhile, is rested and raring to go after his summer break.
“It’s massively important to relax and just switch off a little bit from things. I’ve always tried to do that,” he said.
“You try and take yourself away, abroad or wherever, and don’t think about football for a little bit. Then you come back fully refreshed. It’s mental as much as physical, very much so. Football is very much a 24 hours a day, seven days a week sport. I know you generally play games only on Saturdays and Tuesdays but you’re thinking about it every minute of every day.”
Ex-Millers attacker Keiran Agard has had knee surgery and will miss the start of Bristol City’s Championship campaign, but should be fit for the Rotherham v Robins clash at AESSEAL New York Stadium in November.
The stadium will be showcased on Sky Sports on Friday October 2 as the Millers v Burnley clash has been brought forward a day for live coverage.