ROVERS’ players have hit the ground running in Austria, according to the club’s fitness chief.

Chris Rush has liked what he’s seen from the squad during their training stint in  Bad Tatzmannsdorf, their base for the second year running.

Tony Mowbray’s men return to East Lancashire tomorrow before the opening friendly at National League side Barrow on Saturday.

“The players are in a good condition for this time of year,” said Rush, a mainstay of the Rovers staff for the best part of eight years. We test in season as well so we can get snapshots of where players are at at particular times and a lot of the players have held onto their in-season fitness.

“That’s obviously really, really positive.

“We put a lot of detail into the off-season programmes and hopefully that’s been a part of that.

“Players are away for six or seven weeks and you can give them a programme and you don’t know how much they are going to follow it.

“We always put it to them that if they follow it they will be fine for pre-season and it looks as though that’s the stage we’re at.

“The lads just want to play football and we’ve been in a place where we can get that going fairly quickly.”

That the players keep their minds on the job, even when on holiday, is vital according to Rush.

It means things are likely to run smoothly for both the individual players and their manager ahead of the new Championship campaign.

“If you’ve not got that base fitness going into those football sessions then you’ve got a really good chance of injury or you might not be able to complete pre-season which presents its own problems,” Rush told Rovers’ official website.

“If you’ve just taken six or seven weeks off then it’s usually an uphill battle from there and is really, really tough.

“Most of the lads know that though and do bits when they go away or hire a fitness coach.”

Rovers are back at the same base in the Oberwart district as 12 months ago and it is something that is proving to be a perfect fit.

“We typically start planning pre-season from January, February onwards,” Rush said.

“We start to look at the places we want to go away and that’s the big logistical and organisational point.

“Definitely before the end of the season we have a good layout of knowing where we’re going to go and when we’re going to train and those particular things.

“Then it’s about the finer points over the off-season.

“The facility is really good, a lot of national teams have used it for camps.

“The hotel is great in that the players can train hard and then relax and they aren’t in the middle of other areas, like Spain or Portugal, where they might be distractions that can take people away from why we’re really here.”

Elsewhere, reports that Charlie Adam is in training with Rovers are believed to be wide of the mark.

It had been suggested that he was back in Blackburn using the club’s Brockhall facility to keep fit since his release by Stoke City at the end of last season.