Returning Rotherham United defender Grant Hall is eagerly anticipating his side’s return to home action when the Millers lock horns with Stoke City on Boxing Day in front of a packed out AESSEAL New York Stadium.
Having been sidelined with a hamstring injury and also struck down by illness in recent weeks, Hall was back in the fold for the first time since the World Cup break when he was introduced as a second half substitute at The Hawthorns on Saturday.
As a group who drive standards internally anyway and with Millers boss Matt Taylor upholding those levels at the helm, Hall was quick to stress that he and his teammates are hoping to repay their supporters with a positive performance after difficult days against Bristol City and West Bromwich Albion.
"The Christmas schedule is always brilliant for the fans and to be at home on Boxing Day in front of your own is always nice,” Hall enthused.
"They love watching football over the Christmas period and whilst it is demanding for the players, I think it will help us to get back into a rhythm like we had before the break."
“We're happy to play as many games as possible to get that momentum back."
The Millers have become synonymous with having a mean defence in the second tier and had lived up to those standards before the pausing of the fixture calendar for the World Cup.
Uncharacteristic errors in the previous two outings have proven costly, but Hall – whilst acknowledging the defensive lapses recently – is confident that the Millers can return to shutting out opposition with more success.
"In the last two games the goals that we have conceded have been very avoidable,” he conceded.
“They've come from us really and have been poor goals to concede. Throughout the season we haven't really given many opportunities away like that,” he admitted.
“We can't come away from how good we've been defensively throughout the season and whilst we've had a couple of blips recently, we're confident that is all that they are.”
The 31-year-old could be thrust back into the starting XI on Boxing Day when the Millers host the Potters at AESSEAL New York Stadium and admits that whilst he will always lend an ear to those less experienced than him in the back line, he doesn’t believe his teammates necessarily need the extra hand.
"If I can help any of the other lads in any way possible, I'll obviously do that. I have played at this level for pretty much my whole career, so I feel like I know the league very well,” Hall continued.
"I'm not too much of the 'old man' yet. I've been leaving that to Woody and Pelts, who are both really experienced professionals with a ridiculous amount of games between them.
"Players like Wes [Harding] have played a lot of games, so he understands the level and what it's about. Cam [Humphreys] is obviously young and just coming to learn about the Championship but he'll get better and stronger as he goes on because he's got lots of great attributes.
"Whatever I can do to help the youngsters I'm happy to do, but my main focus is first and foremost on my own performances.”