For those of us accustomed to wearing shorts and flip-flops in drizzly autumn months, this recent spell of hot weather has been a bonus.
In the UK, it’s not the kind of weather that we’re used to playing football in. But for members of our squad who are used to warmer climes, it might feel a little more familiar when our season restarts for a nine-game blast through June and July.
Defender Matt Miazga is one of them – he’s experienced it all before on the other side of the Atlantic…
“We came back to do individual training a bit earlier,” Miazga said. “We’ve been put to the test, training really hard… and it’s been hot during these past few weeks! The weather has probably pushed us a bit. We’re fit now, and we’ll keep getting fitter.
“I’ve dealt with playing in hot summer months before in MLS – there is nothing like playing in Orlando or Houston with a 4pm kick-off, humidity, heat, everything in the middle of July and August!
“I haven’t done it in a while, but I’m sure it won’t be too bad. We’re getting used to it and we’ll have some evening kick-offs.”
And after life in lockdown, and quality family time, the defender is just keen to get back out and competing again.
“My missus is here with me – we have been able to spend some time together and improve ourselves in everyday life,” he continued.
“Mostly I’ve been training on my own, and doing work at the house and parks. We’ve also been trying to educate ourselves on a variety of topics – reading, researching, things of that nature.
“Now we’re at the back end of it all, so we’re looking forward to some normality very soon.
“The most important thing for me is playing the sport I love, and trying to get back to competitive football. I’m glad we’re back, hopefully we can all stay safe and healthy and continue to progress. And keep getting fitter in time for the restart of the season – it’s exciting times.”
And what can be achieved in this run-in? 27 points are left to play for, but Matt is only focused on the first opportunity for the next three points.
“We are going to need the whole squad – we’ve got a lot of good players and we’ll all be ready to contribute to play a big part in this push for the next nine games,” Miazga continued.
“It’ll be one game at a time. There’s nine games, and anything is possible in this league – you’ve seen it throughout the years! For us, we’ll focus first on Stoke City and take it one game at a time, and see where it takes us.”