Sunderland to embark on Austria fitness trip before playing pre-season friendlies in France

Sam Allardyce has revealed Sunderland look set to have a number of pre-season friendlies in France '“ after saying he doesn't want a repeat of last year's gruelling trip to America.
Sunderland's manager Sam Allardyce.Sunderland's manager Sam Allardyce.
Sunderland's manager Sam Allardyce.

The Black Cats boss is finalising the club’s summer schedule, having already booked a week-long training camp in Austria.

And he says he wants the club to stay close to home – rather than travel thousands of miles across the world.

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Allardyce said: “Pre-season, we’re still catching up as we couldn’t plan.

“It was either/or – was it for the Championship, was it for the Premier League? So we’re still finishing that off.

“But we’re going to stay in Europe. It’s very important for us that we don’t travel too far.

“Going around the continent and around the world, America, places like that – it isn’t right for any team to be doing when you are building up to a massive game in the Premier League again.

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“For us, it’s staying in Europe and getting the players as fit as we possibly can, and then the most important thing is who can we sign and how quickly can we do it.”

Sunderland embarked on a gruelling schedule to the US and Canada last season, playing three games in eight days in Sacramento and Toronto.

It was a trip agreed upon before then-manager Dick Advocaat’s arrival, but the Dutchman couldn’t hide his displeasure at the schedule.

Allardyce, however, has full control of Sunderland’s pre-season plans, and has already organised a week-long camp in Austria between July 7 and 16.

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He is then looking to capitalise on the improvements made to training facilities in France for the European Championships, along with a number of friendlies either there or elsewhere in Europe.

He added: “We’re thinking about France as they have improved their facilities so much for the Euros.

“We’re thiking of going to Evian which is where Germany are actually training at the moment.

“So it will be Austria first in the mountains then into Europe for some competitive games.”

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Sunderland so far have two friendlies arranged for the summer, against Hartlepool at Victoria Park, on Wednesday, July 20 and then at Rotherham United on Saturday, July 23.