Lewis Holtby believes a return to Rovers’ Brockhall training base ‘would bring a lot of joy’ to the first team squad.
It’s now exactly nine weeks since it was announced that the 2019-20 season would be suspended following the outbreak of COVID-19.
Since then, the players have been following individual training plans from home, whilst Holtby returned to Germany to complete his rehabilitation following knee surgery.
Now back to full fitness, Holtby is looking forward to being reunited with the Rovers squad, with a provisional return to training date of Monday May 25th announced this week, which he insists would be a big boost.
“The first session together as a team, I think it will bring much more flair to the dressing room,” the 29-year-old told iFollow Rovers.
“Everybody can’t wait to be back training and playing and being around each other.
“I’ve been in touch with the team and with officials from the club, and we’re just waiting on a definite date to come back.
“We have a WhatsApp group chat and we speak about certain things and possibilities, but no-one knows for sure what’s going to happen or when we’ll be allowed to come back together.
“It’s just speculation at the moment. Everybody wants to come back, no-one wants to stay at home anymore, everyone’s had enough of dish-washing and gardening, so I think coming back to Brockhall would bring a lot of joy to everyone in the team.”
Whilst back in his homeland, Holtby has followed closely how German teams have returned to training in recent weeks, with the Bundesliga season set to resume this weekend.
“They’ve been training in small groups for a couple of weeks now,” he added.
“They’ve been tested every day. I think there’s been 10 players in the First and Second Bundesliga who have been infected by the virus, but they’ve all got that under control.
“I think they’ve done some really good research and some good work about how to isolate and how to train properly.
“I think Paderborn, from the Bundesliga, were the first team to start with full team training, because they had two tests where everyone was negative, so that’s a good sign, and on May 16th they will start to play again, but without fans.”
Holtby admits the prospect of playing games behind closed doors is not something that appeals to him – not least because there will be no hiding place from manager Tony Mowbray’s instructions from the sidelines!
“It’s hard to prepare yourself for that,” added the German international, who has three caps for his country.
“I’ve been playing in front of fans for the past decade and it’s always a different boost or energy level.
“I can’t imagine playing without fans to be fair. It’s going to be very quiet, you’ll be able to hear everyone shouting … you’ll probably be able to hear the gaffer shouting more than normal!
“There’ll be no excuses. If the gaffer says something, you won’t be able to say ‘I can’t hear you’!
“It’s going to be different. I think we might need to have some training sessions inside the stadium, just to have a feel for a quiet stadium with no attendance.”