Steve Cotterill felt the 12-day trip to the USA had taken its toll on his players as they ground out a 0-0 draw with Charleston Battery earlier today.
The Blues failed to break the deadlock in a game of few chances, with only Luke Varney’s late effort and a Hermann Hreidarsson header really causing the home goalkeeper to extend himself.
But despite a tinge of disappointment that his men had been unable to find the net before their return to the UK, Cotterill was pleased with his side’s fitness – especially after battling through the fatigue of the hard pre-season training sessions.
He said: ‘I thought we looked really tired tonight. We looked as if we’d had a hard two weeks here and I think we have.
‘This was a good game for us because we have probably gone up another level with our fitness because they had to push themselves to get through it.
‘But I thought we looked dead on our feet, even though we looked more tired in the first half than we did in the second half.
‘It wasn’t just the game – it was a culmination of training, the heat. We knew we would get that anyway so there are no complaints.
‘We’re happy with our fitness but just with no goals to show for it, that’s the only thing.’
With Cotterill still looking to boost his threadbare squad, he had to contend with an injury problem as striker Dave Kitson was ruled out of the game with a thigh strain.
Cotterill said: ‘It’s a problem that we couldn’t play Dave and we will need to see how that one is leading up to the weekend.’