PETER Whittingham was certainly feeling the benefits of Rovers’ week in Austria, both on and off the pitch.

Whittingham was one of four new signings integrated in to the squad by head coach Tony Mowbray as his squad flew out to Salzburg for their week-long training camp.

They arrive back in East Lancashire later today, ahead of Tuesday’s friendly with York City (7.30pm), following on from their 1-0 defeat against Sparta Prague on Friday.

Mowbray tried to strike a balance between football and fitness work, as well as team bonding, during the week away. And for Whittingham, a new arrival from Cardiff City, was glad to be part of it.

“It’s really good to meet the boys, spend time with them, and getting to know people who you are hopefully going to be spending time playing with this season,” the 32-year-old told the Lancashire Telegraph from the club’s Austrian training camp.

“It’s massive to be with everyone and getting to know people.

“That, and a lot of running.

“It’s been a tough week, I don’t think anyone will be denying that, it’s been really hard in aspects, and the game was bit of a relief.

“For me as a newcomer getting to integrate with the whole of the squad was great.”

Whittingham has seen a few pre-seasons in his time having come through the ranks at Aston Villa before spending the last 10 years with Cardiff City.

With two friendlies down, and four more to come, Whittingham said: “Early doors it’s about fitness, getting the lungs back and see how you’re getting on.

“As the pre-season progresses it’s about how you are going to adapt to certain situations and results.

“It’s been tough the running, it doesn’t get easier as you get older, but it needs to be done and we’re ready for the season now.”

Whittingham turned down the offer of a new deal with the Bluebirds, where he played 459 times and scored 98 goals, to seek a fresh challenge with Rovers.

That was despite featuring 37 times for Cardiff in the Championship last season and earning a rightful reputation as a club legend in South Wales.

But he has high hopes ahead of his first season with Rovers in League One, and admitted that Mowbray was a big influence on his decision.

Whittingham said: “I had been at Cardiff for 10-and-a-half years and this was just something different and I probably owed it to myself to try something new.

“I am looking forward to the whole thing, keeping the ball, having lots of possession and dominating teams.

“With the team we’ve got that’s what we should be doing.

“When I spoke to the manager the biggest thing that stood out for me was how he wants to play the game, and for someone like me that’s how I want to play.”