The Academy travel to Porto on Wednesday morning for a Pre-Season tour. All of the Under-18s and Under-23s will go for a week of preparation ahead of the season, whilst playing two friendlies each.
Steve Wigley’s Under-18s will play FC Marinhas on Saturday, followed by Boavista on Tuesday, both at 11am. Peter Grant’s Under-23s have friendlies organised also on Saturday and Tuesday against Portuguese teams Braga B and Guimaraes B at 5pm.
“I think what you get with where we go in North Portugal, is you get a climate that is not too dissimilar to summer on the British coast,” commented Academy Direct Huw Jennings.
“It’s not hot, its usually dry which would be helpful, but it’s not usually too hot. So playing against international opponents to similar conditions in the regular season is a good thing.
“There’s two purposes really, its an intensive period together, you’ve got access to the players 24/7 and it’s an opportunity therefore to influence them through that proximity. And then of course there is an opportunity to play good opposition from another country.
“We can play matches and train domestically, going away together gives the opportunity to for integration, it’s great because they’re living together as opposed to going off home at the end of the day.
“I think the fact that we go away together, the Under-18s and the Under-23s means we can integrate the groups. We don’t see them as two distinct groups, we see them as separate groups but not distinct groups.
“We would expect all of the Under-18s to play with the Under-23s, and we regularly play games against each other. That is a strong feature of the way we are, and I think that we particularly like the idea that the younger players are challenging the older players, so you don’t have to worry what’s in front of you, you can be concerned about what’s behind you.
“Our players are very used to playing international opponents by now, it’s something we do on a regular basis,” he said. “If you are new to the program that is different for you but generally speaking our players are very used to playing against international opponents.”
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