Alex Mowatt admits it is strange to finish games from the sidelines after being substituted.
The 25-year-old captain – who has played 130 games for the Reds – did not miss a minute during the 2018/19 promotion season in League One.
Last season he missed two games in August due to injury then was taken off only twice in the next 40 matches – both during the busy Christmas period.
Since five substitutes have been re-introduced last month to combat the increased schedule, Mowatt has been brought off five times by Valerien Ismael – more than by caretaker Adam Murray, Gerhard Struber and Daniel Stendel combined.
Mowatt told the Chronicle: “It has been a little bit different. But with five subs now there are a lot more changes.
“When you look up at the board you are hoping it’s not your number, but you have to accept it.”
He added: “I think the gaffer likes to make changes, to freshen it up so that we still have the intensity. That’s why he’s changed a lot of players.
“We do cover a lot of ground in centre mid and so do the forwards guys, with the way we play with a high press.”
Mowatt has been partnered in central midfield by summer signings Herbie Kane or Matty James, as well as academy graduate Romal Palmer.
He said: “There’s a lot of competition. We brought in some good central midfielders in the transfer window and there are players like Stylesy (Callum Styles) as well who can play in that position.
“You have to be at your best in every game to stay in the team.”
During a run of 12 games in 43 days, Mowatt was pleased to have some time off this week between Friday’s 4-0 loss to Bournemouth and Wednesday’s win over Wycombe Wanderers.
“We had a few days off. The gaffer said to rest and recover, take time with your family. With two games a week it is hectic but it’s been good so far and if you lose a game you soon get another chance to put it right. You play a game, then do recovery then shape for the next game. You don’t do a lot of high intensity training. I prefer games to training but I like training with intensity – you can’t do that with midweek games. Everyone was disappointed after the Bournemouth game.
“We felt like we were on top for a lot of spells in the game but a lot of the goals were down to our own errors. It is disappointing to lose 4-0 when I don’t think we deserved it. We had a lot of chances but we didn’t take them and they are one of the best teams in the league who took their chances.
“On another day, it could have been a totally different scoreline.”
Mowatt says there is no update on the negotiations over an extension to his current contract which is due to run out at the end of the year.