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Tenerife Diary: Day Five

With matchday on the horizon, day five is about striking the right balance between work and rest as City prepare for their only practice match on foreign shores.

The players arrive at the training pitch for 9.45am, as is the norm, for what is quite a lengthy morning session.

Lee Johnson takes the defenders, while Dean Holden and Jamie McAllister take care of the midfielders and strikers to bed in some more tactical principles ahead of the new campaign.

It has been noticeable throughout the week how the coaching team like to alternate the groups they work with, keeping things fresh for the players.

During the session we speak to Sam Stanton, City’s head of performance analysis, who discusses the benefits of drone technology and the various advancements in equipment off the field, enabling the club to maintain thorough day-to-day analysis of not only their own players, but also upcoming opponents and potential transfer targets.

You can watch that back on Facebook Live. Next to come under the microscope for BCTV is Frank Fielding - City's serial winner on this tour, who discusses his unique treble of Beach Soccer, racing night and quiz night glory.

Aaron Wilbraham presents photographer Matt McNulty with a birthday cake
Lee Johnson gets his message across to the City defenders on the training pitch
Gary O'Neil and Matty Taylor enjoy some downtime at the pool table

After training the lads have a recovery session in the pool before it’s time for lunch. With a free afternoon to relax, we take the opportunity to get the inside view from Joe Bryan and Bobby Reid on their team-mates for BCTV.

It’s been an annual feature for a number of seasons now. Sam Baldock and Scott Wagstaff, Aden Flint and Marlon Pack, Aaron Wilbraham and Lee Tomlin…they’ve all had their chance to dish the dirt over the years so this time we left it up to Bristol’s finest. They didn’t disappoint.

Several members of staff used the downtime to revisit the scene of the players’ Beach Soccer tournament on Tuesday and have a game of their own.

Now I wasn’t there myself to pass judgement, but I’m reliably informed Mr McAllister tackles just as hard now as he did in the Championship, and if City ever suffer a goalkeeping crisis, they could do a lot worse than pass the gloves to Sean “the cat” Gilhespy straight out of the recruitment team.

There’s a surprise in store for an unsung hero at dinner. JMPUK photographer Matt McNulty, whose pictures this week have brought the trip to life, thought he’d kept it secret that it was actually his 28th birthday, but news travels fast in these environments.

Like a game of Chinese Whispers, before long the whole squad knew, forcing Matt to become the centre of attention as captain Aaron Wilbraham delivered a special birthday cake to choruses of “Happy Birthday to you” from players and staff alike.

When red-faced Matt finally escaped the limelight, it was back to the pool table where I finally had my revenge on Gary O’Neil.

I dare say City’s answer to Ronnie O’Sullivan isn’t losing any sleep over his win-loss ratio, but at least it made my night.