Ipswich Town heading to Spain for pre-season as Hurst persuades Evans to foot the bill

New Ipswich Town manager Paul Hurst. Photo: Steve Waller

New Ipswich Town manager Paul Hurst. Photo: Steve Waller - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

Ipswich Town have announced they will be heading to Spain for a pre-season training camp.

The Blues had already booked their annual trip to Ireland under previous boss Mick McCarthy for the week of July 2-8, but new manager Paul Hurst made it clear to owner Marcus Evans that he wanted to change those plans.

MORE: Ipswich Town’s fixtures for the 2018/19 season

Evans, after much consideration, has agreed to pay the cancellation and re-booking costs.

The club have not revealed where in Spain the private camp will take place. It’s understood to be situated on the east coast, with the Blues looking into the possibility of arranging a behind-closed-doors friendly.

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Many of Town’s players have returned to Playford Road today for some fitness tests, with pre-season training officially starting next Monday.

Friendlies against Braintree (a), Crawley (a), Barnet (a), MK Dons (a) and West Ham (h) follow the trip to Spain before the season-opener against Blackburn (h) on August 4.

Hurst, speaking on TalkSport this morning, said: “The lads are in today (Thursday) and tomorrow for some testing and then we start of everyone together on Monday.

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“We’ve got six days straight and then we’re off to Spain for a week where we will get some really hard training in the legs, with games starting after that.

“We’ve got MK Dons and Barnet but a showpiece game with West Ham prior to the start of the season kicking off. Some good games, different levels but for me it’s about getting to know the players and making them understand what our expectations are and how we want to play.”

Speaking at his first Blues press conference, Hurst said: “Pre-season will be tough – that’s all I’ll say to them. Players do look after themselves in the off-season these days, but I have worked with players from Championship level or higher who tell me they have done a really tough pre-season, come into my squad and are nowhere near the levels that we expect.

“It’s not only about me assessing them in terms of fitness and getting them up to speed, but also characters. Everything I’ve heard is that I’ve got a really good group, but what someone might accept or let slide… We talk about standards every day on the training pitch. There might be one or two that might not enjoy the first few days.

“Hopefully they will get to know we don’t hold grudges and move on. If they are prepared to listen, we believe that we can make them better. That is a common goal – to improve people, to improve the team. Hopefully they can see that.”

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