New Rotherham United boss Alan Stubbs has told his players to savour what’s left of their break ... because the summer toil is about to begin.
The Millers report back for pre-season on Thursday after nearly eight weeks off since the end of the last Championship campaign.
And Stubbs, along with assistant manager John Doolan, will put them through a gruelling fitness regime as he looks to build a squad which can achieve his aim of cracking the top 10 next term.
“They got a few more days to enjoy their holiday and then the hard work will really kick in,” he said.
The players will undergo a day of testing ahead of their most intense spell of the year.
All of them were given out-of-season training schedules to follow by fitness coach Paul Warne to keep their conditioning at an acceptable level.
“Pre-season is tough for every player,” acknowledged Stubbs, who took charge of Rotherham on June 2.
However, things have moved on since the Liverpudlian, now 44, was a centre-half with the likes of Bolton Wanderers, Everton and Celtic.
“We’ll be working with and without a ball, but I like to do a lot of the work with a ball,” he said. “It’s more enjoyable that way.
“That’s different to when I was playing. We’d report back for training and wouldn’t see a ball for the first week!”
Captain Kirk Broadfoot and Richard Wood, who have signed new contracts, and Stephen Kelly, who has agreed a new deal, will be among the players being put through their paces at the club’s Roundwood base.
Stubbs is being patient as he looks to begin his recruitment, knowing the market will pick up speed as more and more clubs start their preparations for 2016/17.
The former Hibernian boss played until he was 37 and knows from painful experience what those first few weeks back in action can be like.
“I didn’t mind pre-season too much when I was a young player,” he said. “I liked it a lot less as I got older!”
Skipper and central defender Broadfoot has finalised a two-year deal and said: “I’ve loved my time at Rotherham. I’m looking forward to playing under the new manager, especially with him being a centre-half in his playing career at the top level. I’m always looking to learn.
“I spoke to a few boys that he’s managed at Hibs and they all speak highly of him so I’m looking forward to getting started.”
Broadfoot joined the Millers in 2014 and has made 60 appearances.
Meanwhile, Rotherham face a fight with other Championship sides if they want to sign Walsall hot-shot Tom Bradshaw.
Unconfirmed reports emanating from the Midlands suggest the Millers have had a £250,000 bid for the League One hitman turned down.
Barnsley and Preston, both second-tier rivals of Rotherham’s, are interested in the 23-year-old striker who has bagged 40 goals in 87 appearances over two seasons for the Saddlers.
Bradshaw has a year left on his contract at the Banks’s Stadium and it is thought it would take a bigger offer to persude Walsall to sell their prized asset.
Rotherham’s home match against Birmingham City will now be on Good Friday (KO 3pm), having been brought forward a day from Saturday April 15.