The Republic of Ireland players should have an extra spring in their step when they return to training on Thursday morning at Gydnia's Municipal Stadium, writes Dave Kelly.

Wednesday was only their second day off since the squad began to assemble in Malahide on 17 May.

On our travels around Sopot yesterday we spotted several players out enjoying a pleasant stroll as the European Championship edges ever closer.

Giovanni Trapattoni is likely to name his team for the Croatia game on Saturday evening, which means just two more days remain to stake a claim.

In reality, the Irish starting XI is among the most predictable of the 16 qualified nations if the manager's selection is not affected by injuries.

Goalkeeping coach Alan Kelly was the man put forward to speak to the media on Wednesday, with the players and the rest of the management team given the day to themselves.

The number of journalists here in Sopot is increasing by the day. Understandably, Kelly seemed a little surprised by the sizeable press pack outside the hotel on his arrival.

Shay Given's fitness dominated the questioning, but according to Kelly, Given is fit as it stands to start against Croatia. Kelly also indicated that Given may not train today and that it would be a major concern if he was unable to do so before Sunday's game in Poznan.

I was dispatched to do something a little different for the SixOne News. I decided on a visit to the office of the Mayor of Sopot in an attempt to get a sense of what Ireland's stay meant to the town.

There we met Patrycja Tuchanowska-Rurkiewicz who told me that the town was the perfect location for the boys in green.

In particular she pointed out to me that the health spa facilities made it the ideal location for the players to recover after the games.

She also assured me that the locals will get behind the Irish team in all of the group games and that they are hoping the stay is extended to the knockout stage of the competition.

Iva Trifonov is the general manger of the Sopot Sheraton Hotel, Ireland's main base in Poland for the duration of the tournament. She gave me an interesting insight into what's involved from a hotel's perspective in accomodating an international soccer team.

"There was a lot of planning in advance but everything so far has gone smoothly. We have been pleasantly surprised that the players and everybody we have dealt with were extremely pleasant and polite," Iva said.

While any hotel staff with an interest in football have been advised to remain professional. She went on: "Our staff are very curious but have been told to stay away and not to ask for autographs or pictures. We see a lot of fans hanging around the hotel, we expect a lot of interest."

I was due to travel to Gdansk today for the latest Spanish training session. However, just before our departure, word came through that the session was no longer open to the media or the public.

Hopefully we will get down next week ahead of the Republic of Ireland's game with the defending European Champions.