Rovers fitness chief Chris Rush says the coronavirus lockdown has thrown up a unique situation due to the uncertainty over when games will return.

The EFL initially suspended games until April 3 and then April 30, but a decision has now been taken to suspend the season indefinitely.

That has thrown up challenges for head of athletic performance Rush who has devised fitness programmes for the squad to follow during their time at home.

Those have constantly changed, due to the ever-changing situation, but he knows the players can’t consider this period of no matches as being similar to the off season.

“It’s obviously a completely new situation,” Rush explained.

“People have been speaking about it being an off-season situation, but it isn’t really because off-season is normally a time where we would recommend quite a good period of rest and recovery, but we’ve not been able to really do that because we’re not clear on when that next game is and how fit the players need to be.

“So it is quite unique in the sense that we’re trying to replicate what we would do in training, but from their homes, which has obviously been a challenge, but I’d like to think we’ve got a good handle on it now.”

Rovers were training for their scheduled game with Bristol City on March 14 before the first round of postponements were made by the EFL.

Rush expected that to be shortlived, but as time has gone on, Rovers have had to change their plans which also included the squad training in small groups to comply with the Government’s social distancing rules.

However, those plans were also shelved, leaving the players to continue their work alone at home, with Rush admitting communication has been a key factor at this time.

He added: “It all came about very quickly and once we were notified that we didn’t have a game, while we were training on the Friday, preparing for the Bristol City game, we went away not really knowing the seriousness of it all.

“So we had plans in place to provide programmes, but we were going to come back in within three or four days, so initially there wasn’t too much of an issue.

“But then, it obviously quickly escalated, the seriousness of the situation ramped up and the games have been pushed further and further away, so what’s been important for us is, first of all, making sure we can communicate to the players in the most effective way.

“So at the moment, that’s a WhatsApp group, which means we can have all the first team and Under-23s players in that WhatsApp group and because there’s been daily changes, it’s been important that we can send the same message to everybody and there’s the ability to communicate back, so that’s one aspect.”

Danny Graham revealed that the players have retained their competitive edge through the online-based sessions in which the players can view each other’s times for the running drills set by Rush.

Rush told the club website: “Initially, because we didn’t know how long we were going to be away for, the programme that we gave the players was quite basic and then as we’ve realised that we’re going to be away a little bit longer, we’ve put a lot more detail into it and we’re now tracking players through an app that allows you to see all their work that they’re doing outside, like running and the sessions that they’ve been prescribed.

“There’s also a social media element to it as well, so they can see all of each other’s runs, who’s doing what, and it’s been really good.

“The players have been excellent on the uptake of it.”