Michael O’Neill has drawn breath to admit that a three-game week is a challenge he has been forced to get used to.
“I prefer the Saturday-to-Saturday fixtures,” says O’Neill, “because it gives you more time to analyse the game that’s gone and to prepare your team for the game coming around.
“But it is much easier going into a midweek game on the back of a win because hopefully the confidence and mood is good in the group and you still have a bit of time to review and look at the opposition coming up.
“But it’s the nature of the league, that the games come around quickly, and it’s what I’m adapting to as a manager in terms of managing my time and the players’ time.
“It’s a challenge, but one I enjoy.”
Stoke head to Ewood Park on the back of Saturday’s 2-0 success over Cardiff and their manager believes that should stand them in good stead tomorrow night.
“I said to the players that these weeks can be massive, but to get the real benefit you need to win the first game and that’s what we’ve done at home to Cardiff.
“Now we have the chance to add to that and all of that builds momentum – and when you have that momentum you get confidence and I don’t think fatigue becomes an issue.”