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Carrington today: The boys are back in town

Holding shot for carra today

Holding shot for carra today

Yes, the boys are back at Carrers and putting in the usual hard shift as they get ready for the FA Cup tie at Notts County - and just as an army marches on its stomach, Roberto's lads need the right fuel after training. Which is where the sprouts come in ...

Chef Ed Keogh knows they won't all eat their sprouts - though there's no pudding for those boys who don't, obviously - but he and the cordon bleus always provide a tasty and varied menu, and the Carrington lunchtime gig is certainly a popular one in this neck of the woods ...      

Ed Keogh chopping brockoli

But first things first. Kit manager Les Chapman and his hard-working team always have a crisply-laundered set of the appropriate apparel (OK, training kit) ready and waiting for each player when they check in and head for the changing room. That takes some doing, given the number of players (don't forget the EDS) based at Carrington - pop your head around the door of the laundry room at any time and the washing machines are going full throttle .. .

Les Chapman the kit man back to work

 And oh, the benefits of being a top footballer: while you're busy at work, you can arrange to have your car washed and valeted on site, so it's sparkling fit to catch Nigel de Jong's eye as he considers candidates for his luxury car dealership ... 

Players cargetting cleaned at carra

There's plenty to be done, of course, and even if you're recovering from injury there's a carefully laid-out programme of exercise to follow so you don't get bored while the others are playing five-a-sides. Here physio Lee Nobes shows Dedryck Boyata how to lift his left leg over a hurdle without knocking the hurdle over. Note that look of concentration - from both of them ... 

Lee Nobes and Dedryck Boyata Bat To Work

A footballer's work is never done, eh? All that running around and kicking a ball isn't the half of it, is it Jerome? Herr Boateng takes time out to sign shirts and pictures - and add his monicker to those footballs in the background - for charities executive Lorraine Firth, partly obscured on the left of the shot but doubtless ticking Jerome's name off her to-do list ...

Jerome Signing shirts.

Great snaps by Club Photographer Sharon Latham, we're sure you'll agree ... 

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It was a quiet morning at Carrington today with the disappointment of Saturday's narrow defeat at Aston Villa still in the air.