It was the day the squad dreads on Wednesday - gaffer's day. It was at this was very resort in Cork five years ago, in his first pre-season as manager, that Sean Dyche first unveiled the concept of gaffer's day to his unsuspecting players.

Since then this day in pre-season has gathered a life of its own, whispered about quietly, always there in the first couple of weeks of pre-season, just waiting to be unleashed.

It was a gruelling affair once again, two hours and 20 minutes of running, with not a football in sight, unless you were lucky enough to be a goalkeeper, although even then Billy Mercer made sure Tom Heaton, Anders Lindegaard, Adam Legzdins and Conor Mitchell were pushed to the limit.

This isn't running for the sake of running though, there's method in the madness. Once pushed to the limit the players will be asked to go again, proving it's mind over matter, while many of the running drills involve teamwork and sticking together when fatigued. The lads had certainly earned their afternoon off.


After an afternoon off, spent on the golf course here at Fota Island, getting a massage in the spa, or just having a well-earned lie down, it was World Cup time once again.

The semi-finals in Russia have been shown on the big screen for the team, with Steven Defour suffering heartbreak on Tuesday night as the Belgians were beaten by France.

But the viewing routine is set out now. World Cup at 7pm, hopefully no extra-time, then Love Island at 9pm, for those who just can't get enough of the reality show that has gripped the nation. Well, some of it.


Once again there's plenty of interest in Burnley in Ireland, with Kevin Long, Stephen Ward, Jeff Hendrick and especially Robbie Brady fan favourites.

The training pitches at Fota Island are just behind the holiday lodges in the resort, with families often taking time out to come and have a nosy at the Premier League team knocking a ball about just the other side of the fence.

It's the Irish lads who attract most of the attention, with the sight of Brady often producing yelps of excitement from star-struck youngsters.