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Brunty's Tour Diary: Part one

20 July 2012

Skipper reveals how Jonas has turned tour guide!

HALSNINGAR from not-so-sunny Sweden!

The weather is so mixed here that it feels like we haven’t left home.

Grey skies, a fleeting ray of sunshine and lots of rain has been the norm since we touched down in Scandinavia on Tuesday night.

But I don’t mind the wet conditions one jot! I like the sunshine when I’m on holiday, but it’s absolutely horrible to train in.

So, for the first pre-season in a long while, I don’t feel like I’m going to melt each time I step onto the training pitch.

Speaking of which, I haven’t been able to work with the rest of the lads as much as I would’ve liked due to a little calf niggle.

The irony is, I suffered the injury while trying to stay on top of my fitness during the summer holidays!

I tried to get ahead of myself by going for a little run near home but felt my calf while running up a hill.

I missed the first few days of pre-season training before joining in with the rest of the lads for about a week – only to feel a recurrence of the problem yesterday morning.

That ruled me out of our tour opener against Malmo, as it wasn’t worth risking.

Hopefully, after a couple of days with the physios, I’ll be able to rejoin the lads in training.

I just hope I’m using up all my bad luck now because it’s been a stop-start return for me. It’s not great doing all of the training and then missing the games.

With the three lads who played at Euro 2012 only rejoining us at the start of the week, it was good to see Jonas again – on his own turf.

Our very own Swede was born about 20 minutes away from where we’re staying and he’s become an unofficial tour guide for the Albion party.

This is his local haunt and judging by the high fives and hugs he’s been giving everyone since we arrived, you’d think he was a national hero!

Take the Malmo game for instance. He confiscated around30 of our complimentary tickets allocation for his family and friends. Then, while Fozzie, 

Zoltan, Coxy, Longy and I watched the game in the stands, Jonas could be seen holding court with about ten people in an executive box!

As for the game itself, we knew it was going to be a tough match – as will Wednesday’s match against Copenhagen.

This pre-season tour is a little different to some of our previous trips in Europe when we’ve played lesser-known opposition at smaller venues.

Both of this year’s games are against elite Scandinavian teams with impressive stadia.

Malmo are already 15 matches into their season, while we went into the game with one behind-closed-doors friendly under our belts.

That just underlines why people don’t tend to look into pre-season results. Losing 1-0 was no disgrace but this time of the year is all about fitness.

I’m pleased to report that our team hotel and training facilities are spot on.

We’ve been putting in the graft at Malmo’s old stadium, which is situated right next to their new Swedbank Stadion ground, and training under the new 
gaffer has been enjoyable.

He has made sure that a lot of our fitness work has involved the ball – but that doesn’t mean it’s been any easier!

Double training sessions, with a much-needed rest period in-between, have been the order of the day so far – and there’s plenty more pain to come!


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