STUART McCall insists City’s players must be self-motivated to avoid going stir crazy with the absence of proper training.

The club shelved plans to return to Apperley Bridge today after last week’s decision by the football authorities to continue to stop the season until at least April 30.

Fitness coach Ben Rome will send each member of the squad a programme to carry on with at home.

And McCall stressed they must show the willpower and discipline to keep themselves going during this extended period of uncertainty.

He said: “They know what they need to do.

“People are saying that we’re going to have a mini pre-season because nobody knows when we are going to get back (playing again). So, they’ve just got an obligation to themselves.

“It’s like all of us being isolated and sitting indoors.

“There’s nothing better than going outside and doing something, as much for your mental state as physically.”

The City boss briefly popped into the training ground on Friday but has also been trying to keep himself busy around his home while the regular schedule is put on hold.

“We’re fortunate where we are that we’ve got the ground where we can get about,” he added.

“We’ve been walking dogs and riding bikes, stuff like that.

“From the players’ point of view, they are young men who want to be keeping physically active.

“You obviously see these Premier League footballers with their gyms at home.

“But you go back to our day, there’s nothing wrong with sit-ups, press-up, burpees and squats.

“You don’t need to be in a gym to do all the big weights and you can go running.

“Obviously you haven’t got the actual technical football stuff, but there’s no problem with being able to keep fit.”

Nicholson intends to turn it up a notch this coming week with an increased workload on the plans he has mailed out to the players.

McCall said: “They had a tough session on the last Friday we were in so they’re not going to lose (fitness) massively.

“Last week was a down one. They still had their work to do but it wasn’t as physical because we were hoping to be able to come back training.

“This week it will be upped a bit more, the runs will be a bit longer or quicker whatever it may be and things like that.”

McCall spent a couple of hours at Woodhouse Grove as he tries to keep himself busy.

“I was looking at clips of certain players as well as some training drills that the LMA send through every month.

“I’ve got a stack-full of them but you look at little things that we could do different like practising defending crosses and things like that.

“It would have been nice to get out there and start working on them but nobody knows how long this is going to be.

“But one piece of good news we’ve had is that Ben’s partner gave birth to little baby Josie the other night. The baby arrived five weeks early but everything is going well.

“It’s nice for us all to hear something positive with everything else that’s going on.”