Rotherham righting the wrongs of last summer as they head to Austria

What a difference a year makes.

As Rotherham travel to their week-long bootcamp in Austria, boss Paul Warne will board the plane happy that preparation for the forthcoming campaign in League One is going as well as he could have expected.

With five signings through the door, two more potentially meeting up with them in Austria and only a fine tuning of the squad left to do – perhaps the addition of a marquee striker – Warne will have pretty much every one he wants with him next season sprinting up the Alps over the next seven days.

 

It could not be a bigger contrast from the shambles the Millers found themselves in this time last year.

Travelling from Doncaster airport to Poznan, new boss Alan Stubbs had just one new signing and a plane load of trialists for a week-long tour that set a miserable tone for the season.

Only Anthony Forde was a new arrival with the Millers preparing for a third year in the Championship as a host of other targets had either not been identified or slipped by the wayside.

They departed 24 hours after their annual pre-season opener against Parkgate, where Jonson Clarke-Harris had suffered a serious knee injury, leaving Danny Ward as the only recognised striker in the squad.

Preparations were in disarray, Stubbs had no clear plan and the week in Poland was essentially a write off. What was the point of a pre-season tour, the breeding ground of team spirit and camaraderie, if only one new man had arrived by the time it came around?

The Millers knew pretty early last season that the summer circus had killed them and vowed it would never be repeated, and we are seeing the reward of that promise this time around.

 

The result against Parkgate last season is the only thing that betters this year after Stubbs’ men won 7-0. That was as good as it got for the former Hibernian manager.

The Millers ‘only’ triumphed 6-2 on Saturday but new signings David Ball and Jamie Proctor scored two goals apiece while fellow new boy Ryan Williams impressed after the break. Michael Ihiekwe and Darren Potter also played and did well.

With the exception of Frazer Richardson, who might yet still earn a deal, all the 22 players that played will be part of Warne’s squad next year and there were no major injuries to speak of.

It was a perfect opening outing for the Millers.

Warne can now take the group – his group – to the mountains and forests and run them ragged, hoping to build a team spirit similar to that of the famous side he played in at the turn of the century.

The squad can forge friendships, have banter, and get to know each other safe in the knowledge that by the time they return to England and preparations for the new campaign really get under way, there won’t be a mass influx of signings over a short space of time.

That might just make Warne happier than the thought of an uphill sprint.

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