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2012-07-01T07:00:00 Updated 2015-02-19T02:12:04

Hammers return to training

It was all go at Chadwell Heath on Sunday morning as West Ham United's first-team squad returned to pre-season training.

There were plenty of smiles as the Hammers players began their preparations for the 2012/13 Barclays Premier League campaign at the training ground just six weeks after winning promotion in thrilling fashion at Wembley.

With manager Sam Allardyce working hard to bring in new players to supplement his squad, assistant manager Neil McDonald oversaw matters as each player was weighed and put through a succession of tests to check on their physical condition.

"I think we got the boys in to make sure they were all back in off their holidays, were fit and well and got all their gear ready for travelling away to Austria," confirmed McDonald.

"We did a quick session for about an hour and were all tested for their weights and body fats. It was good to see them all interacting with each other and we had a couple of new players as well, which was great.

"It was a nice, relaxed day. We fly to Austria and start the proper work on Monday ahead of welcoming Aston Villa in six or seven weeks' time."


The squad will fly to Austria for a week-long training camp on Monday, with the players expected to be put through rigorous double and triple sessions every day. The trip will end with a fixture with 23-times Bundesliga champions FK Austria Wien at the Franz Horr Stadium on Saturday 7 July, with kick-off at 7pm local time.

McDonald said the players would be put through their paces in hot sunshine.

"Everyone looks really good and we're really happy with what we've seen. We'll be doing plenty of football as well as fitness work before finishing off the first week with a great game, so we're really looking forward to it.

"The players have had a good break but we're all excited. Pre-season is always difficult but always enjoyable, so we've got to make sure we get everybody through the next six or seven weeks and available for the first game against Villa."

Captain Kevin Nolan was his usual jovial self, while npower Championship Play-Off final heroes Carlton Cole and Ricardo Vaz Te were also in positive mood as they pulled on their kit 43 days after scoring the vital goals against Blackpool at the Home of Football.


Joining them were new boys Jussi Jaaskelainen and Mohamed Diame, who met their new colleagues for the first time since arriving from Bolton Wanderers and Wigan Athletic respectively.

Both, along with the returning George McCartney, were warmly welcomed into the squad, with Jaaskelainen a familiar face to former Bolton team-mates Nolan, Matt Taylor and Joey O'Brien.

Stephen Henderson was also back at Chadwell Heath on his first day as a West Ham player following his permanent summer switch from Portsmouth.

"We have done some good business. It's important to get the players in as soon as we can. George obviously knows the Club well with him being here last year, which is great and it's fantastic that he's joined us full-time.

"Jussi has come in and I know him from Bolton and he's settled in really well with the rest of the lads, as has Mohamed Diame as well. They're looking forward to it because it's a new challenge for them."

The Chadwell Heath training ground has undergone a makeover during the summer break and the smart new surroundings have only served to boost the feelgood factor around the Club at present.

"We've tried to create and keep that vibe ever since we came here," said McDonald. "It's always difficult to change the mentality and ethos of the football club because we do things different to other people.

"To come in and change that mentality from getting beaten every week to winning and getting promoted at the end of the season is a fantastic effort from everybody and makes you feel extra special.

"Hopefully this season, we do ourselves justice in the Premier League and keep that feeling. We've got the pre-season to get the players ready so it's an exciting time."

Home kit

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