Happy Hammers in the sun

It was another rigorous workout for West Ham United's players who were busy training on Friday morning ahead of Saturday's match against Werder Bremen.

In the searing heat in Bad Radkersburg, the players started off the session with short running bursts and ball keep-ups, under the watchful eye of fitness coach Antonio Pintus, who was timing everything to precision.

At the other side of the training ground, the goalkeepers - Robert Green, Marek Stech and Peter Kurucz - were also working hard with goalkeeping coach Ludek Miklosko, although they had managed to find a small shaded area that gave them some respite from the sun.

Following that initial warm-up, the players then took part in a session run by Steve Clarke concentrating on skill work, before finishing up with a game that manager Gianfranco Zola played a full part in.


An early evening session will follow later on Friday, where the players will continue to work on their fitness before taking a dip in the plunge pool and ice baths to warm down.

Zola has talked about the spirit within the squad and how the trip is helping to enhance it ahead of the new season. That seemed to be in evidence based on the noise coming from the players while the practice game was going on, with senior players like Scott Parker and Matthew Upson actively shouting encouragement throughout to the younger players like Georg Grasser and Ollie Lee.

New signing Luis Jimenez, who is settling in well since his arrival, was fully involved once again as was Parker, who returned to full training on Wednesday.

Of the players that took part in the 1-1 draw with Flavia Solva, only Josh Payne was rested due to sore shins. The 18-year-old took part in light work but is expected to resume full training before Saturday's game.

Some senior players in the squad who did not play in Wednesday's game could feature on Saturday, while Mark Noble, Jonathan Spector and James Tomkins are set to join up with their team-mates on Sunday following their break after international duty.