Bilbao call off Portman Road friendly

THE hoped-for friendly against Spanish giants Athletic Bilbao will not go ahead after the Basque club ditched plans to hold a pre-season tour in England.

THE hoped-for friendly against Spanish giants Athletic Bilbao will not go ahead after the Basque club ditched plans to hold a pre-season tour in England, writes Derek Davis.

The EADT reported yesterday that The Blues were actively looking for a replacement game with a trip to Dutch side Twente Enschede now looking the most probable fixture.

Although agreement had been reached with Blibao, who had also agreed to visit Stoke City the same weekend, contracts were not signed and now the English agents handling the arrangements have confirmed the Spaniards would not be travelling.

Bilbao were rocked with two pieces of bad news last week before losing out on a UEFA Cup spot to Barcelona on the final day of the La Liga season.


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Manager Jupp Heyncke revealed he would be leaving and has already joined FC Schalke 04. The following day club president Javier Uria succumbed to cancer, aged 41, and the club went into mourning.

Bilbao played six games in less than a fortnight last season during a visit to England but now it appears the new coach, who was promoted from youth-team boss, is not so keen on a return visit.

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Town will travel to Southend United, Colchester United and Boston United as they warm up for the new Division One season and will play three games in six days during a trip to Sweden and Denmark.

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