The latest blog entry from the Finland tour, which looks at the first training session and match...
Plenty of tired eyes populated the dining room of our hotel at 9am. After a 14-plus-hour trip the previous day that saw us arrive at the hotel post-midnight, there was little time for sleep ahead of the morning session.
Following breakfast, we headed over the the training pitch, which is a 10-minute walk through the town. Most opt for the bus but coach Andy Watson guides a number of us through car parks and streets - a route we would forget on the way back without him.
Training is light to allow the squad to shake off the stiffness from the previous day's journey and the recent encounter with Steaua Bucharest. One player - who shall remain unnamed - almost had to delay his involvement due to bringing two left boots, though our strength & conditioning coach Lee Fearn fortunately shared the same shoe size.
After a series of runs and exercises, coach Andy Watson takes over the session. The drills are short, sharp possession games that turn increasingly frantic, and comical, as those chasing at the end have to face a forfeit of press-ups (DISCOVER MORE ON MAGPIE PLAYER)
Before leaving the pitch, there's room for a bit more fun, as Andy, who appears to be well advanced in yoga (more on that coming Magpie Player) picks up on the camera's furry microphone cover. He quickly establishes that he can recreate Francois Zoko's hair style to great effect, as you will see in the photo gallery.
After lunch, the players have time to get some extra rest ahead of the team meeting. However, before we know it, we're back on the bus and on our way to the home of Kemi Kings.
The match takes place on a pitch adjacent from the training patch and it is encouraging to see the team replicating some of the fast-paced passing on show that morning. The 3-1 win is deserved after a dominant performance that showed very few hints of fatigue from Wednesday's journey.
There was also a chance to meet Aki Lahtinen, a former County player between 1981-84, who is now based in Oulu, and an interview will be coming soon to Magpie Player. In addition, don't miss out on our Fan Blog from Paul Mace, who has travelled to Finland to follow the team with his son, Harry.