THIS amazing season will thankfully continue for one more game after we secured our spot in the Championship playoff final with a brilliant 3-1 win on Friday evening.

Whatever happens at Wembley against Leeds on Sunday, the closed season will be a welcomed period of time for everybody to have a bit of a break.

It’s not just the physical side of it, it's the mental side that can mean you are in need of a break. It has been such a long season, and it can take its toll on you in different ways.

I cast my mind back to when I played, as soon as the season finished, I would have at least two to four weeks downtime of doing nothing.

Modern players may do it differently now. I know there are programs they work on through the summer. But I used to have a complete switch off from the sport.

When the family came along, it would be a time of the year when you had a window to take a family holiday. It would be something to look forward to.

Despite that, one of the first things that was always packed in my suitcase was a training kit and some running shoes because I would quite often be away on a family holiday.

Depending on the timings of when we were due back for pre-season, I would do my own sort of pre-season because I would want to hit the ground running on day one.

I would not want to be using the collective pre-season to get fit and in shape. I wanted to be in a good physical condition to get in the manager's face, to be selected for day one of the season.

Working in the media, you can't wait for the season to end in one way in terms of finally having a few weeks off.

But then you get two weeks in, and you think, ‘Oh, I wish there was football on again. I wish we could go and get down to St Mary's.’

So very quickly it becomes you want it to start again. Once you've had that little break and a switch off and a recharge you are itching to get back into it and get going again.

I've seen a sort of crossover of different ways and methods such as getting in shape at an army camp before the season started.

I remember when Glenn Hoddle came in as well. He was the first manager who said a six-to-eight-week closed season was too long to do nothing.

He took us on a closed season break to La Manga for a training camp. For me personally, it was not great because on the last day of the camp.

I fractured my leg in a challenge with Kevin Davies which meant I missed the start of the proper pre-season.

There will also be the Euros for some players this summer so the recovery side of it will be crucial for them and they will probably get a little bit longer to come back for pre-season. 

There are going to be one or two players like Gavin Bazunu and Stuart Armstrong who are trying to get fit over the closed season, recovering from longer-term injuries.

This is a tough thing because the training ground will be really quiet and they will be just working with the medical staff.

Hopefully, Stuart is fit enough to make the Scotland squad for the Euros. Gav is obviously going to be working on rehab right up until the end of the year. 

I definitely think there will be a work program that he will be doing, maybe not quite five days a week, but who knows? It will be a tough summer for him, I'm sure.

I also got married at the end of a season and it was great to focus on personal things like that. To go away and have a honeymoon as well was brilliant.

My anniversary is on the 6th of June. I've got a feeling Iain Dowie and his wife got married on the same day.

Every single year you have got two or three in the dressing room who are having a wedding at around the same time.

It was probably a bit difficult for our teammates if we were inviting them as they had to often decide whose wedding they were going to.

It will be my 32nd wedding anniversary this year. It is quite scary how quickly those years go by. It is always a fun time of year.

This summer could turn out to be an incredible one. For everyone connected with the club we are either going to be looking forward to possibly playing in the Premier League again, or we are going to be faced with the challenges of playing another championship campaign.

With the greatest of respect for my former teammates and as much as I loved everyone, I did not want to see them in the closed season.

I wanted to get away from it, get away from the routine, get away from the faces that you see day in, and day out throughout the year.

Younger players might go away with their teammates. I suppose there comes a point in their career when that stops and it becomes family-orientated again and summer becomes all about spending time with wives, children, parents, and loved ones.

I settled down at a very young age so the whole party scene and letting your hair down was not really a thing for me.

I had much more of a quieter and settled lifestyle and was in a relationship. I was doing the whole family holidays with my partner and family when they came along.