Town set to play in German pre-season tournament but Portman Road friendly unlikely
- Credit: Archant
Ipswich Town are close to announcing details of their pre-season programme - but manager Paul Lambert says results are not important as the club prepare for the League One campaign.
The Blues' much-discussed trip to Germany at the start of July is taking shape, while plans are in motion for at least two games against lower-league opposition upon their return as they gear up for a first season in the third tier since 1957.
Lambert's men are heading to Germany from 4-15 July for an extended training camp, with a friendly match on the first weekend against yet-to-be-confirmed opponents.
The following weekend they are due to take part in a pre-season tournament involving four German and Dutch clubs, with opposition and a venue also yet to be confirmed. Ipswich would be in action on both the Saturday and Sunday.
"The finer details will be out very soon but we want to make sure we get it right," said Lee O'Neill, Town's general manager of football operations.
"We'll be flying out on July 4 and back on July 15 so we'll be out there for a good period of time. The location and opposition will be out in the near future, hopefully very soon.
"It won't be a holiday camp and it will be in pretty remote areas, focussed on football.
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"The plan is to try and play a game and then a tournament, so once we can confirm exactly who will be in that tournament we will."
It's understood that, at this stage, there are no plans for a Portman Road friendly before the start of the club's League One campaign, though.
The potential for a home game this summer, which has acted as the traditional final warm-up game in season's past, has been complicated by the Rod Stewart concert at Portman Road earlier in the summer and the knock-on effects on the Portman Road pitch.
This will be Lambert's first pre-season since 2014, when he was with Aston Villa, but the Town boss insisted the summer programme is all about fitness and team cohesion rather than results.
"It's a big one in terms of getting everybody together," Lambert said, when asked about the importance of this pre-season.
"I think the lads need a break and a holiday. I think the whole football club needs a holiday.
"It doesn't matter what happens in pre-season games, it's about the first game of the season - that's when you have to be ready.
"We'll prepare really, really well and train them in the way we play and what we want to do with the ball and without it as well. How we're going to get it back and how quick we can get it back.
"That's going to be vital.
"We have to have that desire in our game to be really fast. That's a component we must have.
"The games are to get you fit. They won't really matter until that first ball is kicked on the first day of the season.
"I can see both arguments. I've been involved in pre-season where we've lost, most games and then got off to a flying start and also vice versa.
"That comes with experience."
Last season former boss Paul Hurst cancelled his side's scheduled trip to Ireland in favour of a week-long training camp in Spain, before returning to England to play games away at Braintree, Crawley, MK Dons and Barnet ahead of a home date against West Ham.