The international break could not have come at a more opportune time for Rotherham United manager Paul Warne.
A five-game winless run, due in no small part to the squad being crippled by injuries, meant the Millers limped into the fortnight’s respite.
At times Warne was struggling to find two fit centre-halves, while his only available forward – Michael Smith – was himself carrying a knock.
But the two-week international break has allowed the likes of Smith, Richard Wood, Jamie Proctor, Richie Towell and Clark Robertson to work on the training ground and come into contention for today’s visit of Bolton Wanderers to the ASSEAL New York Stadium.
“There were a lot of issues, I couldn’t even fill the bench,” said Warne, who is now only missing long-term absentees Sean Raggett and Darren Potter. “But it’s all good, they have all trained (yesterday).
“I now have choices and options, I can make changes, and think I shall. Now having all my best players back, no disrespect, but having a strong bench gives you opportunities, you can make subs if someone is under-performing or not doing exactly as you want.
“But also tactically you can manipulate the game a lot better.
“We have struggled the last few games. The lads have given me everything, I am not complaining about anything like that, it just has limited us in games.
“Now we feel like we are back to virtually full strength and look forward to the games.”
The Millers have five games in 21 days, including tough-looking trips to Middlesbrough, Preston North End and Blackburn Rovers. So today’s Bolton game and the visit of Swansea next month are key to Rotherham adding to their 11-point tally.
All those points have been won at the New York Stadium – only Boro and Leeds United have conceded fewer goals at home – but Warne is refusing to under-estimate Bolton.
“I say this about every team, but every team in this league are very good,” he said. “Bolton had a very good start to the season, a better version of us, possibly.
“However, we are a really good home side and it’s a game we go in to try and win, and I think it will be an exciting game.
“The lads feel like gladiators every time we play at home. Every game we play at home we believe we can win.”