Since touchdown in Paphos, Matt Taylor and his Millers have been working tirelessly through a warm-weather environment in preparation for the return of domestic football.
Even for the dressing room’s veterans, a break mid-season in this fashion is unprecedented. But the unusual circumstances provide a unique and much-needed opportunity for the management team to really embed their ideas into their Rotherham United side.
The journey began at the start of the week as the squad returned from their own holidays, after spending valuable time away from football. They would report to the AESSEAL New York Stadium at 8:30am, and arrive at the airport for a 2 o’clock flight.
At 8:30pm, after a long day’s travelling, the Millers finally landed in Paphos and got themselves settled in ahead of the tough week of training.
🇨🇾| Aliathon Ionian Resort arrivals feat. some Josh Vickers trickery, a stumped Conor Washington and Dan Barlaser's best 'Blue Steel' smoulder...— Rotherham United (@OfficialRUFC) November 21, 2022
The Millers are here in Cyprus!#rufc | #ForeverTogetherForeverProud pic.twitter.com/AjAiJA7Y4n
Fresh off the flight, we managed to catch up with Matt to get his thoughts on the trip, and how expected his side to take to the camp.
On Tuesday, the real work began. An early breakfast followed by a team meeting would be a consistent throughout the week as the boss would lay out his plans for the day.
The Millers would take to the pitches for the first time at 10:30am, in the first of two testing sessions under the Cyprus sun.
🇨🇾| A productive first day on the pitches with plenty of variety.— Rotherham United (@OfficialRUFC) November 22, 2022
A light-hearted - but tough - session this morning was followed up by shape and set piece work in the afternoon here in Paphos.
He's a flavour of the action...#rufc | #ForeverTogetherForeverProud pic.twitter.com/ZxIvM3pPr7
By Wednesday, the squad had begun to acclimatise to the conditions in Paphos. After a harsh – but light-hearted – double session the day prior, the Rotherham United players and staff had been kindly given access to the brilliant facilities home to Pafos FC.
Upon early impressions, it was clear that the gaffer and his coaching team were putting their side through their paces out on the pitches – but the players were clearly handling it well.
Though the common theme of the trip, much like the club itself, has certainly been ‘hard work’, an evening’s entertainment would do just as much good for the team as a session out on the pitches. This is where “Billy Mercer’s Cyprus Quiz” comes into play – it’s fair to say that things got a little heated…
🇨🇾| To say this quiz is 'competitive' would be an understatement...🤣— Rotherham United (@OfficialRUFC) November 23, 2022
Even Billy's answers have been argued with at least every other question!#rufc | #ForeverTogetherForeverProud pic.twitter.com/LpQqnfPt94
Eventually, through round after round of a controversial quiz, we ended up with controversial winners through controversial means!
Just when the lads thought that they had gotten used to the conditions, Thursday morning threw a rainy curveball.
🇨🇾| 𝙀𝙫𝙚𝙧𝙮𝙬𝙝𝙚𝙧𝙚 𝙮𝙤𝙪 𝙜𝙤, 𝙖𝙡𝙬𝙖𝙮𝙨 𝙩𝙖𝙠𝙚 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙬𝙚𝙖𝙩𝙝𝙚𝙧 𝙬𝙞𝙩𝙝 𝙮𝙤𝙪...🎶— Rotherham United (@OfficialRUFC) November 24, 2022
A bit of Cypriot rain should help to make the pitches out here in Paphos a tad 'zippier' ahead of this afternoon's training session.#rufc | #ForeverTogetherForeverProud pic.twitter.com/1KPukLsUV8
The Millers were put through their paces for another day as they continued to familiarise themselves with the wants and needs of Matt Taylor and his coaching body. This time - set pieces.
🇨🇾| No video footage from this afternoon's session which was based around set piece work, but, instead a few snaps from the lads being put through their paces after the weather had cleared up here in Paphos...#rufc | #ForeverTogetherForeverProud pic.twitter.com/0MBuH36dGZ— Rotherham United (@OfficialRUFC) November 24, 2022
Having blitzed through a lot of work since their arrival in Cyprus - including a number of double sessions - Millers boss Matt Taylor rewarded his players and staff with some down time on Friday.
Players were given the option of playing a round of golf at Minthis Hills Golf Resort or spending their time at their leisure in the hotel and around the town of Paphos.
An ideal opportunity for players and staff to recharge before the work began again on Saturday.
The Millers were given the morning to prepare themselves with the physios and take on some fuel during a pre-match meal in the hotel restaurant before a playing an intra-squad friendly at Paphos FC in the afternoon.
The in-house fixture has been organised to allow Matt Taylor and his staff to take a look at his side in action after a week in which they have been able to convey key messages on how they would like them to play moving forwards.
🇨🇾| 𝗔 𝘂𝘀𝗲𝗳𝘂𝗹 𝘄𝗼𝗿𝗸𝗼𝘂𝘁💪— Rotherham United (@OfficialRUFC) November 26, 2022
Here's how the Millers' day has looked out here in Paphos.
There is one more session to go tomorrow before the Millers head home for South Yorkshire on Sunday night.#rufc | #ForeverTogetherForeverProud pic.twitter.com/RV625MI0fo
The Millers' final day in Cyprus would be a long one for the players, with a morning training session followed by some time in the gym before a late evening flight to take them back to Manchester.
As had become the norm throughout the trip, boss Taylor opened with a short classroom meeting before taking the lads across to Paphos FC's training facility for one final session on the grass.
Once again, the players battled through the work, with the manager ending the session with a light-hearted drill to put smiles on faces before the travelling begun.
🇨🇾| Our final day in Paphos is drawing to a close.— Rotherham United (@OfficialRUFC) November 27, 2022
Matt Taylor ended the final training session with some healthy competition, which the lads enjoyed and got stuck into in equal measure!
A productive week in Cyprus!#rufc | #ForeverTogetherForeverProud pic.twitter.com/atZdkFvP6R