The inside track on Portsmouth’s pre-season training camp in Croatia

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Early starts, double sessions and double espressos: that’s the story so far when it comes to Pompey’s pre-season training camp in Croatia.

The picturesque setting of Medulin on the Istrian peninsula is the backdrop to the Blues’ build-up to their Championship return after 12 years.

After the searing heat of southern Spain in Mijas last year, the Adriatic Coast was chosen this time around as John Mousinho’s men spend the next six days stepping up their training workloads.

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Part of the idea was slightly less scorching conditions for the players to contend with, but with temperatures forecasted to hit 33 deg C in the coming days the 25 players present are certainly getting a sweat on.

There were still some bleary eyes yesterday, as the squad were given a 2am wake-up call for their journey from Luton to Pula airport on Saturday morning.

That gave ample time for players to adjust to their new confines, with the facility at their disposal ticking all the boxes for what’s needed in terms of pitches, gym facilities and diet.

A light workout on the day of travel was followed up with another early wake-up call as the miles were clocked up on a 7am Sunday morning run.

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That was the pre-cursor to a double session, setting the pattern for the week ahead. 

Double espressos were the order of the day, too, to tackle the tiredness, while a makeshift common room has been assembled - complete with darts board and table tennis.

With Pompey’s training pitch a long throw from the Adriatic, staff took cover from the heat in dugouts as players went through a tactical session.

With the focus on detail, the competitive juices were satiated as Blues secretary Ally Knell took on first team development coach Zesh Rehman in a ball juggling competition.

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It was Knell who took the honours 3-1, though a lack of officiating meant some suspect deliveries slipped through the net.

Knell then managed to get more balls over the net, as he took on performance analyst Jared Guzenda on the hotel’s clay tennis court.

Normally a venue which plays host to Austrian or German outfits or hosts age-group international tournaments, the star and crescent was flying high in Medulin last night with Pompey fans making themselves seen and heard.

The Banksy’s Bus crew were once again representing at the beachside bars surrounding Port Medulin, but for the players it was a different story.

The Love Island committee convened for the latest episode, but the only grafting going on here is the runs and double sessions as Mousinho’s men do it all again today.

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