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He's only been at the club for about half a season but already he's being followed to Hamburg by some of his former teammates. Vegar Eggen Hedenstad hasn't always been able to train with Johannes Flum and compatriot Mats Møller Dæhli in Sotogrande due to a tight muscle. The Norwegian resumed full training on Thursday morning, however.

"It took a little while but it's nothing serious," he said when asked about his injury absence. "I'm not back to 100 per cent yet but we've got everything under control and are working with prudence every day." Hedenstad is a genuine all-rounder, having played in almost every position during his career, but at St. Pauli the 25-year-old has established himself at right-back and has featured in 15 of the 17 league matches so far.

The four-times-capped Norwegian will hope to add a lot more appearances in the second half of the season, of course, and is therefore easing himself back into the training routine. During the second session on Thursday the Boys in Brown knocked the ball around an 11-against 11 drill. So far his impressions of the Sotogrande training camp have been very positive. "We have very good conditions here and everything's fine," the ex-Freiburg man said. "It's enjoyable when everyone is working on the pitch together."

It's even more fun now that in Johannes Flum and Mats Møller Dæhli two former acquaintances have made their way to Hamburg from the Black Forest. "I'm sharing a room with Flumi and I know Mats from the national team as well," he said. "They're awesome players and we get on really well. I'm delighted to see them both again."

Harmony off the pitch, then, and hopefully harmony on it again too. That means standing closer together, working together, running and fighing harder, and moving the ball around. If that happens, Hedenstad believes the Boys in Brown can take all three points against Stuttgart. But before Ewald Lienen's side run out against the Swabians at the Millerntor next week, they have a dress rehearsal in the form of two warm-up fixtures on Saturday. "We have to repeat the positives from last week's matches," a determined Hedenstad said. "It's important for us to build up our confidence in these games."


Photos: Witters