Date: 12th October 2007 at 8:54am
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Both Rotherham United manager, Mark Robins and defender, Ian Sharps, have hit out at rumours that fitness levels are not up to scratch. Lately there has been a tendency for a strong first half and lacklustre second half and you can hear the fans start to question the fitness of the team.

‘They are as fit as fleas,` the manager said, ‘and our second half deterioration is nothing to do with fitness. It is probably more to do with fatigue than anything.

‘You can tell if players are over-training and that is not happening.

Marcus Bean and Danny Harrison have played nearly every minute of the season so far and to continue to do that week-in week-out at this level is tough and perhaps they are starting to tire a little. On Tuesday, we had a few of the youth players in and it`s only natural that they will tire towards the end.

‘Take Stephen Brogan, who is still only nineteen and has played so many games. He came on as substitute on Tuesday night and looked listless. The supporters may think he wasn`t fit but that`s rubbish. But, as I say, he is only nineteen and we do worry about burn-out syndrome.`

Ian Sharps agreed with his manager,` Nick Daws takes us every day for fitness work,` he told The Advertiser, ‘and I am sure our regime will match anyone`s in this league.`

So, what is his theory about the dismal second half displays that have been dogging the Millers this season?

‘There might be an issue with the young players and their lack of positional sense, meaning they have to run back that extra ten yards sometimes, but they`ll learn. But I do believe they are as fit as they can be for their ages.

Marc Newsham and Stephen Brogan played well last Saturday and the more they play together the easier it will get for them.`

Mark Robins did admit that he might take a look at the teams training techniques to see that everything is being done to keep the players as fresh as possible.

‘We need a work ethic and every single one of my players has got to be prepared to run until they drop.`