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Brunty's Tour Diary: Part two

21 July 2012

Saido protests his innocence as local fire brigade pay team hotel a visit

SAIDO Berahino’s been on fire in training.

Yet according to sources within our pre-season camp, he almost ‘blazed’ a trail at our Malmo hotel, too!

Our lunch was interrupted by the smoke alarms going off, and the sudden arrival of the local fire brigade.

Thankfully, it was no more serious an incident than burnt toast, which had been left unattended in the toaster at our self-service hot buffet table.

Saido was immediately pinned with the blame by the coaching staff – but our young striker denies going anywhere near the toaster!

So we have a ‘whodunnit’ mystery on our pre-season tour, which I’m sure we’ll get to the bottom of sooner or later.

Speaking of Saido, the fact he and other young players like Kemar Roofe and Scott Allan have come with us to Sweden is a big plus for them.

With the new gaffer’s arrival, it’s a clean slate for everyone and we’re all having to fight for our places.

But I think it also gives our up-and-coming players a real chance to stake a claim.

The gaffer will know most of the senior players’ strengths and weaknesses because we’ve been about for a while, but this is an opportunity for the younger guys, who he probably knows less about, to show him what they can do.

Saido and Kemar both looked lively against Malmo while Scott, who spent the latter part of last season on loan at Portsmouth, looks determined to make his mark on the first team.

That is what pre-season is all about and I don’t think any of the senior players are taking their places for granted.

We’ve still got to prove to the new gaffer we can do a job for the team.

He may also want us to do something different to how Roy used us, and we’ll have to show him we can adapt.

Yesterday began with a full training workout for those who didn’t get much of a run-out in the Malmo game.

I underwent treatment on my calf first thing before joining those that did play for a warm-down session at a local swimming pool.

After completing our aqua-based stretches and exercises, we had a bit of fun with an inflatable banana boat, which Steve Wright, our rehab physio, managed to find.

Steve’s a great character who, after all the serious stuff has finished, tends to get us caught up in, shall we say, fun, extra-curricular activities!

After all the hard work we’ve been putting in, the gaffer gave us the afternoon off to relax.

A few of the lads had a wander around Malmo City Centre and our spare time also gave me a chance to catch up with one of my old Middlesbrough team-mates Niklas Nordgren.

We shared digs together as Academy players and have kept in touch on and off over the past decade. Niklas lives near Malmo and it was good to see him.

That is about as strenuous as things got among the players – due to the number of aching limbs in the camp from all the fitness work!

However, a handful of the coaching staff found the energy to get in a round of golf, which was set up by our resident tour guide, Jonas Olsson, at a local course.

I'm pleased to report that our joint-assistant head coach, Keith Downing, who I hear is a bit of a bandit, took the honours.

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