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Finland Diary: Dancing & The Gym

6 July 2013

A look back on what happened on day three of the Magpies' Finland tour...

Due to many of the squad playing 60-plus minutes in the previous night’s victory over Kemi Kings, the group was split in two for the Friday sessions. Those that featured from the bench, along with Mustapha ‘Muzza’ Dumbuya who had been rested due to his recent involvement with the Sierra Leone national side, were in the gym for 10.15am, whereas the rest of the roster were treated to an optional lie in with a slightly later meet-up in the workout area.

Both groups work through various weight routines, each designed to strengthen different parts of the body. Strength & conditioning coach Lee Fearn, physiotherapist Becky Knight and goalkeeper coach Kevin Pilkington take up a station each and guide the players through the weights exercises. 

The later collective are given the rest of the day off to allow them to fully recover from the lengthy journey and the match, which saw three players – Jamal Campbell-Ryce, Curtis Thompson and Andy Haworth – complete 90 minutes. Group one is scheduled for an afternoon football session at the training pitch, following lunch back at the hotel. 

The manager orchestrates the bulk of the training and the focus is on quick passing and possession. One passing drill utilises Pilkington and goalkeeper Fabian Spiess, who has been working hard on the footwork side of his game

The pace quickens again in a two-on-two attack and defence activity that sees the gaffer offer valuable advice. This is taken on board, as you can see from the video of the session on Magpie Player and is continued in a small sided encounter that concludes training. 

Many of those not involved watch on from the bleachers but focus a lot of attention on a professional sprinter, who was dragging weights tied to his waist at pace. They disperse as training finishes but a few remain behind and opt to head over to a coffee shop around the corner from the hotel.

This provides an entertaining and quite surreal insight into local culture – something you would not see back home. An elderly band plays on the opposite side of the pedestrian area from where we are seated and a handful of couples dance on a marble-effect dancefloor that looks like it has been lifted from a B&Q showroom.  

They all seem to be having good fun, but we decide to move on after finishing our hot drinks and head back to the hotel via the Pick ‘N’ Mix shop. A very popular stop-off just across the road from our base. 

You can catch up with the videos from day three exclusively on Magpie Player. Make sure you sign up today for all the latest news, views and highlights from our tour of Finland.  

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