Joe Rothwell can’t wait to be reunited with his Rovers team-mates, who he will see for the first time in over 10 weeks when training resumes on Monday.
After the first team squad and staff reported a clean bill of health following the first phase of COVID-19 testing on Friday, they will all return to Brockhall this week to take part in small group sessions.
Rothwell says he has been counting down the days since the season was suspended in mid-March, with the midfielder most looking forward to having a ball at his feet again after regular runs replaced his usual training regime.
“I’m really excited,” the 25-year-old told iFollow Rovers.
“It’s been a long wait, being sat in the house trying to find things to cure the boredom, but there’s light at the end of the tunnel now and we’re going to be back in little groups come Monday.
“Since all this started, we seemed to be getting a new start date every week. It was just getting pushed back and pushed back, but we’ve had the confirmation now that Monday is the day, so I’m delighted to be getting out of the house and being able to get back.
“It’s just going to be nice to be able to kick a ball. We’ve done all the session that we’ve been prescribe running-wise, but we’ve not really had much chance to kick a ball, so I think this first week it’ll be nice just to be able to pass a ball and to see some different faces.”
Rothwell admits this unprecedented period without football has made him appreciate just how much he loves the sport, which he has played for over 20 years.
The former Oxford and Manchester United man hopes he and his team-mates can use that as motivation in the remaining matches, with Rovers still having plenty to play for.
He added: “I’ve never known anything else but football, but I think this time has given me time to look back and reflect, and it has made me realise how much you miss and love the game.
“You try to think of the good things that have happened, to keep your morale high. Just thinking back to games you’ve played and goals you’ve scored, and it makes you want to go out there and re-live those moments.
“We’re going to go back with nine games to play and for us we’ve still got a lot to play for, so I think we’ve all got something to strive for and we’ll all come back a little bit hungrier, hoping we can make that top six.
“It’s massive. We’re in a position where we’re still fighting for that top six, we’re only three points outside it, we’ve still got plenty of games to go and we’ve got a great chance of getting in there, so we’ve got to come back with a positive mindset that we are going to make that top six.”