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Holland diary - day four

20 July 2016

The Cod Army play their second friendly of the tour

When looking at things from the outside, it would be easy to think an overseas training camp is a glorified holiday.

Beautiful weather, lovely hotels and three meals a day can make it sound like the perfect all-inclusive trip - in reality it couldn’t be further from the truth.

For the players it’s the hardest week of their year, no afternoons off, a week away from the family, three sessions a day and obviously the games.

But it’s the staff you probably haven’t heard of who deserve real credit.

Spare a thought for physio Luke Bussey who is tasked with getting 25 lads fit and ready for training, his treatment room is open from 7am-11pm every day.

Then there’s the kit men, all this training, and sweating, makes life very tough.

On this trip we have ten staff travelling, a manager, two coaches, a conditioning coach, head and assistant physio, performance analysst, head of communications and two kit men.

Without any of those the whole thing just wouldn’t tick.

Anyway, back to the football, there’s a real danger of these diaries becoming more about the weather than the football, but when it’s 95 degrees it really is hard not to mention it.

Today’s game against Holland’s fourth best side was always going to be tough, but after throwing in eight injuries and blazing sunshine just made everything that little bit tougher.

Those of you who aren’t aware of AZ Alkmaar, they are basically Holland’s fourth biggest club, for years they’ve flirted with the Champions League and are cast iron regulars in the Europa League.

While our pre-season is very much in the early stages, AZ start their season for real a week tonight, and to be fair it really showed - they were sharp.

While it may look a terrible result back home, the younger players in the squad will learn much more from that than any 8-0 win against an English non-league side.

After a late night with the game against Fortuna last night, it was an early morning as usual as all the squad reported for a bike ride around the forest the hotel is based in.

Breakfast followed before a team meeting and a 45 minute coach trip to the game against AZ Alkmaar.

After the game the squad headed the training base of AZ for recovery food before finally making the journey back to our own hotel base.

It was another long day, but one which there’s no doubt will benefit everyone in the long-run.

Four down, three to go.

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