In the second of a regular series of West Ham United player blogs here on whufc.com, midfielder Jack Collison updates us on the latest news from the club's Chadwell Heath training ground….
We are back at our Chadwell Heath training ground following our last pre-season trip of this summer, where as you all know, we played in the Torneio do Guadiana in Portugal.
While there we played Sporting Clube de Portugal and SC Braga, both really competitive games against top sides and that is what pre-season is all about, getting some matches under the belt that will test us.
Following the matches, I think we all feel that we were magnificent in the first game against Sporting and then perhaps against Braga, we came up a little short. But that is why we play these games so we can be aiming to achieve the high levels we need to be at and be ready for the new season and matches like this can point out to us what we still need to do.
With all these games, we have prepared and looked at them in the same way we would for a Barclays Premier League match, from the video presentations we would watch about the other side to the way we would look at setting ourselves up for the match itself. It has been enjoyable and I think we will certainly benefit as the season goes on, from the preparation we have been doing.
One of the things that pre-season brings when you go away on trips is sharing a room again with a team-mate. I got to share with Tonks [James Tomkins] and it was a bit like the old days for us, as I used to share with him years ago when travelling away.
I must admit, I forgot how messy he is! All I seemed to be doing was tidying up after him all the time. I don't think he did this on purpose to annoy me or anything, this is how he is! So it is nice to get back and have a decent night's sleep and without mess! We had some banter, we're good mates so it was all fine and I think that is another aim of the pre-season trips is to get the squad together before the season starts, bonding off and on the pitch and getting the new lads settled in.
When you are together as a squad like this, you do that extra bit for each other, that spirit is there and you are a squad on and off the pitch. Obviously the new lads such as Razvan, Adrian and Danny [Whitehead] all got the chance to get settled in and it is enjoyable being part of a close-knit squad.
We have been on our travels pretty much since returning for pre-season at the beginning of July so it is nice to be back at home and we are looking forward to facing Pacos de Ferreira at the Boleyn Ground on Saturday.
There is nothing better than being at home in front of our own fans and this will be the first chance for many to see us again, watch us in the new kit and be wearing it and see some of the new boys in action. It was great to see fans travel out to see us on trips away, it is always nice to see a West Ham shirt as you run out away somewhere and again we thank those fans for their terrific support as always.
But we know not everyone can get to the pre-season games and against Pacos on Saturday, there is a chance to see us putting some of the final preparations into place and I can't wait, as it is always exciting being back at your own stadium again and everyone is looking forward to everything starting. So Saturday should be good and we can't wait to be there.
I have enjoyed pre-season, it is hard work but as I missed out last year with injury, it has been really good to be in and around the boys properly this summer. It is a case of getting fitter with each week and while I still have work to do, I am raring to go and wanting to be fighting for my place in the starting line-up every week.
Come on you Irons!