Richard Wood column: Bitten not smitten amid Poland toil
This is my first trip to Poland and it will not be on my list of destinations to visit on my holidays. In the muggy conditions, flies and mosquitos are everywhere and it's starting to get on my nerves a bit now. The players and staff are covered in bites!
It has been a tough few first days out here, but the hard work needs to be implemented if we are to be successful this season.
The trip didn’t start too well for the group as we found ourselves stuck in the Doncaster Sheffield Airport Lounge for four hours after the flight was delayed. We eventually turned up at Hotel Remes, our training base, at 3am! One positive was that we were able to watch the Euro 2016 Final.
The manager gave us a lie-in on Monday morning, but then we endured a tough afternoon workout on the football pitch in the sweltering heat. That wasn’t the end of the hard work though as Paul Warne (fitness coach) then had us in the gym at 8pm confronting a weights and core session.
These trips aren’t a holiday for the players. It’s good to get the fitness work in the bank, though, as it will benefit us in the long run.
Tuesday was match day so the lads were out on the training pitch in the morning making final preparations for the game. The match took place behind the hotel and it was a good workout for the team.
It was good to see a few Millers fans in the crowd showing their support and I hope they are enjoying their time in Poland.
The squad has a completely different look to last season. We now have the young first-year pros training with us. This trip to Poland is a perfect time for them to get integrated into the group. To have the lads together 24/7 encourages team bonding and a good team spirit, which is vital for the upcoming campaign.
They are providing the entertainment after our evening meals as they each have to perform an initiation song. All newcomers to the squad have to do this, and so far we’ve had goalkeeper Laurence Bilboe and our masseur, Luke Walker, sing very poorly! I’m looking forward to seeing if we have any future popstars amongst us.
We have a lot of spare time between training sessions on these ventures during pre-season, so it is good that the hotel has decent facilities, because if they didn’t then we’d be very bored. There isn’t anything near the hotel. It is situated at the edge of a very small village.
There’s a driving range and a little pitch and putt, tennis courts, a bowling alley and a pool table all on site to keep us entertained.
In addition, the physio room is a decent size so the lads have taken it upon themselves to set up a wicket for playing cricket and a little mock squash court. It makes for a good laugh, although certain players get a little over-excited and take it too far, smashing the ball as hard as possible and causing chaos in there.
We also have a decent card school too. The card games make the time pass by fairly quickly.
The trip has been enjoyable so far but I’m looking forward to going home to see my family.
The fitness of the squad is coming along nicely and it’s not long now until that first game against Wolves.
Roll on August 6.