Rotherham United have an extra reason to get a result at Blackburn Rovers today – a day off from training next week.
Millers boss Paul Warne set his players a points target for the five games between the international breaks.
And they head to Ewood Park unbeaten in their first four of those games, after draws with Bolton Wanderers, Middlesbrough and Preston, as well as last weekend’s 2-1 win over Swansea City.
So a positive result today would trigger an extra day off over the forthcoming two-week international break, not that Warne would begrudge them their unusual ‘win bonus’.
“I have set the lads a target, they get days off depending on the points return,” said Warne.
“So if they pick up something this weekend, I won’t see them at all (in the international break), which will be good for everybody!
“I will give them a period of time off, which they thoroughly deserve.
“They always get a long weekend, but they get longer than that if we pick up enough points.
“With the international lads going away it does fragment training a little bit, because we don’t have a massive squad. We have 20 players, so if five end up going, it leaves us with 15. You then get the opportunities to work one-on-one which is quite a good thing.
“It’s a win-win. The coaches get a day away from the players, the players get away from our voice, because we do a lot of talking.
I will give them a period of time off, which they thoroughly deserve. They always get a long weekend, but they get longer than that if we pick up enough points.Paul Warne
“The most precious thing you can give the lads is time. For example, if we concede off a set-piece, they have to do an afternoon session, which absolutely kills them. Even though they have to stay for another hour, it’s a drama. I went to a lecture with a rugby league manager, about time-keeping with his players.
“He said if you fine a player £20 for being late, they are disappointed with a £20 fine, but they are not heartbroken.
“However, if a player is late, he would delay training for an hour.
“So in the same way you can punish lads with time, you can reward them too.
“If they can spend time with their family and friends and not come in on a Monday, that’s great with me.”
To get that extra day off, Rotherham – yet to win away from home this season – will need to beat an in-form Blackburn side who have lost just once in eight Championship games at home this season.
The two clubs were relegated from the Championship two years ago, then both bounced back with promotion last season.
But while the Millers sit 18th in the table, Blackburn are eighth, just a point adrift of the top six.
“Their home for is excellent, one of the best in the league,” said Warne. “It will be a formidable test.
“Out of all the promoted teams they have had the best results of the campaign.
“It’s a big game for us, but the lads can take confidence in we have only lost once in seven, which is pretty impressive.
“There’s a real competition for places at the moment,” added Warne, who is without the suspended Will Vaulks today.