By the time this story has been published on our official website the Wigan Athletic team out in Kazan will have completed both of Wednesday's training sessions and sat down for their evening meal.
The four-hour time difference made for a slow start this morning, jump-started by a brisk session at Rubin Kazan’s training ground before heading to the Central Stadium later this afternoon for the final get together before tomorrow’s match.
One man well accustomed to adjusting to different time-zones is Roger Espinoza, whose international exploits regularly see the 27-year-old heading back and forth around the globe, but he explained that there are no real tricks to acclimatising, just staying power…and perhaps a couple of matchsticks…
He said: “It’s not easy to get used however many times you do it. The trick is to not to sleep when you have the urge to; right now (at midday) I feel like I want to sleep for a four hours but I’ll try and stay awake through it, find something to do or just have short naps.
“People talk about trying to structure your day to the time back home still, but for me it’s about where you are now and trying to adapt to this time-zone so that we can be in the best shape possible for our game.
“The cold weather helps as well I believe. It’s not as cold out here as everyone thought it might be, the temperatures are not too different from back home, but that cold air definitely keeps you fresh and alert, especially in training, so in a way it’s the ideal climate to try and adjust in.”
As for the game itself, Espinoza doesn’t expect anything less than what Latics faced at the DW Stadium three weeks ago when Rubin visited Wigan, but sees the game as an opportunity to take another step towards the knockout phase, saying:
“They’re a very good, tactical side who kept the ball well at the DW Stadium. Even when they lost the ball they stayed true to their principles and tried again, which was impressive.
“We don’t expect anything less than a very difficult match on Thursday, but we found a strong response to their game plan in the first meeting and we’re ready to challenge them again to take another step towards qualification.”