PROFESSIONAL life is steadily returning to normal for Danny Wilson. As of this week, the head coach and most of his Glasgow Warriors players are back home at Scotstoun. From Monday, the entire squad will be available to him. They know when their next match will be, and they can see the coming season taking shape.

And yet, for all that his working day is now full of those familiar elements, Wilson remains well aware that the campaign on which he is about to embark - the conclusion of this PRO14 season with the double-header against Edinburgh on 22 and 28 August and then the beginning of the 2020-21 competition at the start of October - will present very different challenges to anything he has experienced before. For one thing, an expanded international window, in which Scotland are set to play six Tests between late October and early December, will stretch the resources of his squad. For another, the very fact that rugby is resuming after such a long lay-off raises questions about the readiness of the players - not just his own, of course, but everyone who has been sidelined since lockdown began in March.

“Obviously we’re waiting for announcements and final confirmation of fixtures around international rugby, but I think we could be looking at a very unique season,” he says. “The real positive is that that will get money back into the game. The international game is where we’ll get the money back that we’re all desperate for. That's a really important thing.

“The knock-on effect for Glasgow and for Edinburgh is that it will be pretty tough if the international period clashes with PRO14 fixtures because of the amount of players we lose. When we only have two clubs we’re obviously going to lose a huge chunk of players to Scotland, and then probably other players to other nations as well.

“If those fixtures are confirmed we’re going to have quite a challenge on our hands. But the positive of that is that we’ll get to look at and blood some of the younger players. We'll have to. It will be a good test of where our squad is at. We still have a few holes and a few issues to approach and fill, but we’re working on those in the background.”

Wilson’s first game in charge of his new team takes place just three weeks today, when Glasgow visit Murrayfield. Given the squad are only now beginning full-contact work in training, they will go into that game against Edinburgh under-prepared physically compared to normal season openers, although the coach is confident his players will be ready in other respects.

“Every coach will tell you they want more time. But in terms of the plan that was put in place, I think it’s safe and suitable. We’re all going to be in the same boat: their players and our players.

“By the time we get to that match I think we’ll be in a position where we’re ready to play a game safely. But you would want as much time as possible before you get to that fixture.”

The two teams may be in the same boat when it comes to preparation time, but they are in very different positions when it comes to the race for the PRO14 play-offs. Conference B leaders Edinburgh need just one point to book their place in the last four, while Glasgow, third in Conference A, need all ten from the double-header as well as requiring second-placed Ulster to lose both their games.

If his team’s play-off hopes are over by the time of the second game on, Wilson explains, he may well shake up his squad and give some fringe players a run. But given its do-or-die nature for the Warriors, he expects the opening game to be, if anything, more fiercely contested than usual.

“We've got to play that first game to get five points and see what happens with the Ulster game. After that game we can assess how we go into the second game: do we then make adjustments and changes based on the fact we’re not in the competition any more? It gives me and the coaching team a chance to look at different combinations.

“Or do we say, ‘We have an opportunity here, if we get another five points and Ulster don't get a point from their last game . . . ?’ Well then, we have to be going for it. We have to put out a side that resembles going for it and play rugby that resembles going for it.

“The exciting bit is that we have to approach game one as if we still have an opportunity, which we have. It is a slim one, I totally understand that, but one we have to go at.”