Bristol City to escape the rain with trip to Spain
BRISTOL City's players will fly out to Spain next week as part of their preparations for the forthcoming npower Championship campaign.
In a bid to escape one of the wettest English summers on record, Robins manager Derek McInnes is taking his first-team squad and coaching staff to the beach resort of Marbella.
New signings Greg Cunningham and Jody Morris will be among the party that departs on Monday for five days of warm-weather training at a secret location.
After two days of intensive physical tests designed to ascertain their fitness levels, the players today gathered at the club's Failand headquarters for their first training session of pre-season.
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And McInnes revealed his intention to involve them in ball work, rather than running them into the ground.
McInnes, pictured, said: "First and foremost, players are footballers and we will certainly be on the training pitches with footballs from the start.
"It is all about fine-turning. Pre-season is all about ensuring the players are ready, not only for the opening game, but for the rigours of the season ahead.
"We will do some testing over the next few days so we know exactly where they are, because it is going to be a hard time for them."
The first-team squad will take part in seven training sessions between today and Saturday, before taking a day off on Sunday and travelling to Spain 24 hours later.
"It's tough and demanding for them and we'll work the players hard," warned McInnes.
"It will not always be enjoyable, but they will feel so much better when the work is done. We're confident we will get enough working days into the players to enure they will be ready for the first game on the pre-season tour to Scotland."
City commence their pre-season friendly programme with a three-match tour of Scotland, taking on St Johnstone on Saturday, July 28, Dundee on Monday, July 31 and Dunfermline Athletic on Wednesday, August 1.
They return to Ashton Gate to meet Bristol Rovers in a testimonial match for Robins defender Louis Carey on August 4 and host Premier League newcomers Southampton on August 7, before completing their preparations at AFC Bournemouth on August 11.
City's first competitive game will be at home to League Two Gillingham in the Capital One Cup on Tuesday, August 14 and they kick-off their Championship campaign at Nottingham Forest four days later.