Sunderland will jet out to the Middle East for a training break next week, as Sam Allardyce strives to get his players in peak condition for the relegation run-in.
The Black Cats face a two-week pause from Premier League action after Saturday’s visit of Manchester United, due to their absence from the FA Cup fifth round.
Allardyce will use the respite from the survival battle to work with his players in the sunshine, with the Sunderland squad flying out to Dubai next week.
But the Sunderland boss expects to reap the rewards from the warm-weather trip after similarly heading to Dubai in each of his last three seasons at former club West Ham – ironically the opponents when the Black Cats return to action following the Man United clash.
Allardyce told the Gazette: “Yes, we’re going away for a training break in the sunshine and hopefully we’ll get another improvement in our physical output.
“Historically, that’s always been the case with every team I’ve had.
“Newcastle was the only exception, because I got sacked before we went out there!”
Allardyce believes the two-week break from action will be particularly beneficial for Sunderland’s January signings, with Jan Kirchhoff, Lamine Kone and Wahbi Khazri all starting last weekend’s draw at Liverpool, while Dame N’Doye was introduced from the bench early in the second half.
Three of the four are new to the Premier League and are have inevitably enjoyed an adrenaline rush stemming from their first steps in English football.
But with this Saturday’s lunchtime encounter the third of three games in the space of 11 days, Allardyce expects the new signings to be feeling the effects of fatigue and will need a breather to recover.
He added: “For the new players, you worry about the fatigue level because they’ve not experienced this level of football before.
“In your first game, there’s so much adrenaline pumping through your body, that you get through it.
“You may get through the next one and then maybe hit the wall in the third.
“But with the way the fixtures have panned out, we’ll do our best to get them through because then we get the fifth round of the cup where they can get a breather and recover.
“Then we can push on from there.”