The club, which kicks off its pre-season campaign with a behind-closed-doors game against Gateshead on Saturday. That fixture is followed by a series of games in Austria and Portugal while the club’s training ground is updated and extended.
“The games are really important,” said Howe. “This training now is about trying to develop the team, and how we want to play the game.
“The schedule’s based, in part, around our training ground, which is having a lot of work around it currently. The two trips away, we probably normally would only have one. We’ve gone for two just to stay away from the disruption of the changes.
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“The games, we tried to get really competitive games. We want to be tested. I think the games scheduled will be tough. I think that will make us ready for the league.”