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So far so good for Graham

English Barclays Premiership

It's a case of so far, so good for George Graham on our Scandinavian tour. He's seen two professional performances, two 4-0 wins, his strikers in the goals and two clean sheets.

Add to that Les Ferdinand, Ramon Vega, Mauricio Taricco and Oyvind Leonhardsen all back from injury, Sergei Rebrov scoring his first goal and the likes of Matthew Etherington and Anthony Gardner furthering their first team experience.

In fact, the only thing to get in the manager's way so far was a huge thunderstorm which cut training short back at base in Boden, Sweden, on Sunday.

The boss commented: "It's always nice to get the boys back again after eight weeks off, but the only thing is that I've then got to shake them out of holiday mode and into their working mode again.

"That's why it's ideal to get them away for at least a week. A lot of teams sometimes go for even longer. But it's nice to get them away, get them focussed, the holiday period is finished and let's get the preparation and the right mentality for the season again, get them thinking along those lines.

"When you are living together, that is the best place to get ideas of what our targets are for the season.

"We train very hard and we have to be careful not to get any injuries. It's almost the chicken and egg situation. I think Les Ferdinand is not only training hard but has played physically as well. That's a good sign.

"With the injured players coming back and the youngsters like Tony Gardner and Matthew Etherington playing, it's ideal. It gives them an opportunity and lets me see maybe how close they are to the first team."

The final match of this three-leg tour is in the club's Swedish base against Second Division outfit Boden FC. "I'm not really worried about who the opposition are or what they do," added Graham.

"I'm just looking at us fitness-wise, match fitness-wise and just working on the three aspects of the team - defensive, midfield and attacking.

For a look at video footage from the weekend - click here

Photographs courtesy of Action Images Ltd.

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