The day got off to a start with breakfast, a quiet and relaxed atmosphere amongst the group and went by without incident or event to report of. Jim Henry put on a pool session for the lads, which was covered on Facebook live. A relaxing and easy session in the pool aimed at relaxing the lads after last night’s training session.
- iFollow - Stephen Dawson
- iFollow - Jermaine Beckford
- iFollow - Joe Skarz
- iFollow - Joe Murphy
- iFollow - Eoghan O'Connell
- Pool Session - click here
Facebook Photo Album
One thing I have noticed with the lads walking around with flip flops on is the number of them with strappings on their toes or ankles. Blisters are causing the boys problems, some of them are horrendous and they are keeping physio’s Paul Smith and Tom Walsh extremely busy.
The hotel has set aside two rooms, one is being used as a kit room with everything brought to Marbella from the UK is stored. Washing the kit is being handled by the hotel's laundry department, whilst kit man Craig Rawson is being kept busy by the lads wanting everything from a particular pair of socks to their shorts. Craig takes charge and all the players have their kit delivered to their door handles, each training session has a different kit – mainly due to the amount of sweat the lads are pouring out of their systems.
The other room is a constant hive of activity with the lads in there for treatment for the blisters, a message or any other minor ailment. Acupuncture is also a method the lads use to improve minor ailments and both Paul and Tom are constantly busy. That said, there are no serious or major injuries to report of.
Jim Henry is constantly re-hydrating the lads, each gets a bottle of water for every session with a sodium tablet. Apparently, Jim tells me that the amount of sweating the lads are doing can be harmful with dehydration, which to Jim - in this heat, is a concern. A normal bottle of water is easily drunk, but will not stay in the system for long especially with the heat. Adding Sodium tricks the body to use the fluid intake to replace the fluid lost in sweating.
One of Craig Rawson’s tasks is to wash the bibs after each session, which usually involves throwing them in the bath and cleaning them. Only this morning, Craig was charging around the hotel delivering kit, socks, trainers etc whilst the bath was running.
One errand led to another and before you know it, the bath was overflowing. Before anyone realised there was two to three inches of water flooding his room, the room next to it and the balcony area at the front of his room. As Jimmy Dickinson (video analyst) commented – half of Spain was mopping up his and Craig’s room whilst he was trying to work.
Lunchtime came and went, again with no real events of note – big Jim Henry once again demolished a plate of food, as did most. Jim as the club's sports scientist is very aware of what the lads are eating and thus far, is more than impressed with the quality of food being provided by the hotel.
As for the lads, some are using the time off wisely. Nobody is actively doing anything physical. James Vaughan has a card school going underneath my balcony overlooking the pool with several players seemingly enjoying the banter. A large group is to one side of the pool relaxing and taking in the sun. Some are asleep and would be best described as not sun lovers (Dawson). One or two of the lads have decided to head into Marbella for some site seeing and present buying.
After lunch, I managed to get some of the lads in front of the iFollow Camera. Stephen Dawson, Eoghan O’Connell, Joe Murphy, Joe Skarz and Jermaine Beckford. I’ve also had a few of the lads asking for photos for their Twitter profiles so that will keep me busy for a while later today.
I also asked Becks for a selfie video to promote the season ticket offer, and he very generously came up with something to offer back. It came out on Social Media during the afternoon.
So with the lads relaxing, chilling or sleeping, I am using the time wisely. The video interviews have to be encoded with the correct logos and stings inserted, uploaded and put onto the website. Whilst doing so I noticed a major problem with the iFollow system. The date on the backend is American, which is where iFollow is based. I had been using UK dates, so after a quick edit - problem solved. The iFollow page should now be using the latest video.
Thankfully the WiFi at the hotel is excellent and I can get things done fairly quickly. Whilst the video is working through the system, I’ve also completed the player's quiz for after dinner on Wednesday. I’m going to use the results of that on the blog once it's done and dusted, but there are few quirky questions on there for the lads.
The gaffer spoke last week about using this trip as a team bonding exercise. I don’t think there is any problem at all with team bonding. I’ve been around the club for 17 to 18 years, I’ve been involved in two promotion winning sides, I’ve seen team spirit and I know what team spirit can achieve. But I’ve never seen team spirit like this. It is exceptional, from the youngest to the oldest, this is a strong tight squad. The banter is relentless (mostly from James Vaughan), but it’s all good-natured.
To keep in touch with all the lads, Chris Brass has created a WhatsApp group. Getting any message across is simple and easy, for example, Brassy has sent a message to everyone telling them that training will start again at 7 O’clock tomorrow. To which one person has replied ‘PM?’ We couldn’t possibly reveal which player came up with the cheeky reply, but the colour of his hair is Jermaine Beckford.
Dinner this evening was a quiet affair, no songs were murdered and the usual outstanding food was quickly devoured. The lads drifted off to bed early for tomorrow things are right back at it with another three sessions planned, including a 7 am start on the training ground – as Joe Murphy quipped on the Whatsapp group – I’ll have my night vision goggles ready.
Day three done, three and a half solid days of training left before we fly back on Saturday, and straight into the Huddersfield game on Sunday.
Until tomorrow then…