Defender Tom Miller was one of the first players from the group to get a full 90 minutes at Warrington last Wednesday so we took the chance to talk to him about it shortly after full time.
“It feels really good to have got 90 minutes under my belt,” he said. “We had a tough couple of days at Mottram Hall before the Warrington game and that was good.
“I had no idea I was playing the full game until it happened, but I enjoyed it. Every 90 minutes you play is always a good thing even though I have to admit that I blew up a little bit in the last ten minutes or so. That’s pre-season for you - but I’m glad I’ve got it in the bank now.”
“Things like touch and sharpness are coming back even though it does take a bit of time,” he admitted. “We gave a good account of ourselves at Warrington and there were some good goals scored. Everyone knows the first part of pre-season is about getting into the flow of things and getting your fitness levels to where you want them to be.
“The game on Wednesday was a bit feisty at times and I thought that was frustrating. There was no need for any of the horrible tackles but I know I was a bit silly in the way I reacted. I suppose that’s because we’re all passionate about the game and the fact I’m 100% committed means things can flare over every now and then.”
Speaking about the pre-season package so far, he said: “We have a few days rest before we get back to it on Tuesday. I think that’s when we’ll have to start really showing what we’re about.
“There’s a lot to concentrate on when you go through this period. You need be on top of everything because it’s about earning your place. Building relationships with new players is all part of that.
“You want to know how the players in front and to the side think and react and you need to get to grips with the style of play you want to use as a team. There are a lot of things to buy in to and that’s why you come back early so you can start working on it. It’s the only way to make sure you’re all on the same page come the start of the season.”
“Even in training we have a group of players who all want to win,” he said. “That’s a great thing to see because it means there’s every chance of us doing what we want to do this season.
“Personally, I now know the level I’m playing in terms of football and the physicality of it. Even so, this pre-season has been mentally and physically tougher than last year, but Lee [Fearn] keeps records of our stats and he makes sure we are all performing within our limits.
“I think we always looked a very fit side through last season and we competed in every game. We scored a lot of goals in the last ten minutes of games because that was when we were most dominant. We’ll keep doing our work so that we’re just a little bit fitter this year.”
On how fast the weeks appear to be flying by, he told us: “It only feels like yesterday when we came back to work. But when you look at each individual day you realise how hard it’s been. It is going quickly but I’m enjoying every second of it. It really is a positive environment to be involved in.
“It’s early days, and we’re all still finding our feet, but there’s a real buzz. We have such good characters here and there are players who have won promotions everywhere you look. There are lads who have been there and done what we want to push on and do this year. Credit to the gaffer because the recruitment has been brilliant and this is a good place to be right now.”