Thursday morning was a recovery session for the first team squad in Portugal.
The first of two sessions today was a relaxed one, following the exertions of ‘Gaffer’s Day’.
A competitive element was still added in searing heat, through a series of head tennis games, followed by a strengthening session in the gymnasium, under the watchful eye of Head of Sports Science, Mark Howard and his team.
He explained: “It was a hard day yesterday with the gaffer, so we are just making sure we get the balance right between work and rest and recovery with the game tomorrow.
“We’ll still fit in a couple more training sessions before then, but this morning was all about recovery, with a little bit of strength work on upper body and core to give us that balance.
“Then, this afternoon, we can get the football out and get training.”
Howard, whose team monitor every session in terms of output, intensity and hydration, echoed the manager’s sentiments that the squad have come back in great shape.
“The lads have come back well and they are certainly motivated as a group and enjoying the hard work, which is good,” he added.
“The early signs, from the testing that we’ve done and the football sessions, are all good.
“Objectively we are a strong group at this stage and subjectively everyone looks to be in a good place and is training well on the eye.”