New Oxford United manager Karl Robinson has warned his players their trip to Ireland will prove anything but a happy experience.
Robinson has brought various teams to Ireland for pre season training over recent Summers and has always taken on an amateur side during his stint here.
His MK Dons side often took on St James Gate during pre seasons, but this season he takes Oxford to play Intermediate side Portmarnock on Paddy’s Hill Monday July 9.
While Portmarnock won’t prove too daunting for the professional players they should be dreading the whole Ireland experience warns the manager.
“I have said to them that if you can get through my next two weeks not much more will challenge you,” the United boss said.
“They should have been looking forward to the first two days and the flight to Ireland. But they will be dreading the next week.”
United’s boss uses a tried and trusted pre-season schedule and sees no reason to change that this year.
“I think if you look at the times I have been going to Ireland I have had three play-off campaigns, one automatic promotion, one relegation from the Championship – which was a given – and only one real dead year,” he said.
“The trip is all so meticulously planned. There are no grey areas – everyone knows what they are doing and when.”
“I think more and more teams are getting away from the hot Portugal and Spain pre-seasons and are heading to places like Ireland and Scandinavia.
“I think 22 British teams went to Ireland last year for pre-season.
“The pitches are outstanding, the people are fantastic, the weather is conducive to what we play in, there’s no language barrier and if you sign a player it’s just a 30-minute flight. It gives us a flexibility to do what we want.”