A busy first full day of training on the club's North American tour was typical of the intensity of pre-season preparations for West Ham United.
The 22 players who travelled out from Heathrow had two sessions on Saturday and another this morning to contend with before the opening match of the two-game tour against Columbus Crew at 5pm Sunday night (10pm London time). There is a good mix of youth and experience in the squad with a selection of senior professionals deliberately joined by a number of youngsters who have progressed through Tony Carr's successful Under-18 side last season.
Two players in doubt for Sunday night are left-wingers Matthew Etherington and Luis Boa Morte because of slight groin and back troubles respectively. It is hoped both will be fit enough to get a run-out in Thursday's high-profile game against the Major League Soccer All-Stars on Sunday night. The duo, who also sat out last Thursday's win at Hampton and Richmond Borough, were hard at work over the weekend with personal training programmes - especially on Saturday afternoon at the Crew's leafy Obetz training centre.
The rest of the squad are in contention to play and during their sessions enjoyed a high energy practice eleven-a-side that saw some good finishing on view, not least from Carlton Cole and Dean Ashton. Aside from Freddie Ljungberg, who has not made the trip because of his Euro 2008 exertions, and England Under-19 duo James Tomkins and Freddie Sears, there are a few others who remained at Chadwell Heath to focus on being fit before the big 16 August season kick-off.
Kieron Dyer is due to resume full training on Monday after nearly a year out with a double leg break while Matthew Upson is also working towards the pre-season games that will follow the North American trip having had the all-clear on his previous calf muscle problem. George McCartney should also be involved for the next games after slight hamstring trouble and Lee Bowyer has continued his summer work to recover from last season's groin injury.
North America tour squad
Goalkeepers: Robert Green, Jimmy Walker
Defenders: Calum Davenport, Anton Ferdinand, Ashley Miller, Lucas Neill (captain), Bondz 'Gala, Jordan Spence, Joe Widdowson
Midfielders: Jack Collison, Matthew Etherington, Julien Faubert, Hayden Mullins, Mark Noble, Scott Parker, Kyel Reid, Junior Stanislas, Tony Stokes
Forwards: Dean Ashton, Craig Bellamy, Luis Boa Morte, Carlton Cole