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Rowett discusses the positives of a full week at Calmont Road

The Lions boss insists the group are in positive spirits ahead of a trip to Stoke.

10 January 2020

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A trip to the bet365 Stadium is next on the Sky Bet Championship calendar for Gary Rowett's men, a place that the manager knows all too well, spending eight months in charge of The Potters.

Away form has more than improved since Rowett's arrival at The Den, with The Lions currently unbeaten in five on the road. Following a hectic winter schedule, the manager expressed his delight at being able to have a full week back at Calmont Road with the group.

"It's been really beneficial," he said to

"From a point of allowing a few little niggles that start to build up. The last couple of games we had players that were just trying to get through which isn't ideal, you want them to perform to their optimum level.

"We gave them Sunday and Monday off, which was always the plan. But then we worked them incredibly hard Tuesday, Wednesday and then we're in today [Friday] to prepare for another difficult game in The Championship against Stoke."

Rowett will be taking on The Potters for the second time this season, picking up three points at The Den in a 2-0 win back in October. Following Nathan Jones' sacking in November, Michael O'Neill has since taken over managerial duties in ST4, and the Lions boss expects a totally different looking side.

"They've been direct in terms of doing things very quickly. In the games I've actually seen they've been really good, they've got lots of energy and you know they've got talent, the likes of Joe Allen, Sam Clucas and James McClean.

"They've underperformed for too long now and it looks like they're just starting to come out of that. Michael O'Neill looks like he's got a really good formula there and you have to be very wary of their strengths."

You can watch our interview with Rowett by clicking the video above.

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