Blues boss tying up pre-season destinations

Pompey lifted the Edmonton Cup in Canada last summer
Pompey lifted the Edmonton Cup in Canada last summer
The club was formed in 1934

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Orlando and Charleston – the American destinations for Pompey’s 2011 pre-season.

That’s the plan of Steve Cotterill as he closes in on finalising where his side will spend this summer.

The Blues boss is currently putting the finishing touches to the two-week schedule, which will involve three matches.

He insists it will cost ‘almost nothing’ – an attractive proposition for any football club.

The dates have yet to be confirmed, although it is understood Pompey’s squad will fly out in mid-July.

Currently overseeing the plans personally, Cotterill is confident the trip can be rubberstamped very soon.

And he has pledged it will not be a repeat of the farce which dogged last year’s pre-season tour of America and Canada.

He said: ‘I am a lot closer than I was to sorting out a pre-season in America again – which will be sorted out properly this time.

‘We are just waiting for a bit of finalisation on that but there will be great training facilities, great pitches and a couple of good games.

‘It will be to the east coast, so the flights won’t be as bad.

‘One flight there, one flight home. Maybe one internal flight but if not it could be one sleeper bus ride which may be four to five hours long.

‘Definitely no more via Chicago airport.

‘It will be around the Orlando area, so more accessible for any of our supporters who want to get there rather than where we were last year.

‘If it all comes together, we could be based in Orlando and Charleston, a week in each, which would be really good.

‘Hopefully, there will be three games sorted out – one in Charleston, two in Orlando.

‘We are just waiting to finalise the opposition because they have probably got to change a couple of their (league) games.

‘The Orlando facilities are fantastic, probably 10-15 minutes from where we are staying.

‘I know what the Charleston ones are like as well – the training pitch is literally outside your door.

‘If that comes off I will be absolutely delighted with that.

‘Hopefully, that can be sorted out soon.’

The last trip to America saw Pompey endure eight flights, two airport delays, two flight cancellations, four time zones and six hotels over 14 exhausting days.

It was a ridiculous schedule which Cotterill has long since blamed for their awful start to the season.

That trip had already been put in place when Cotterill arrived at Fratton Park last June.

This time around, he is taking a hands-on role to ensure it doesn’t happen again.

Following the Blues boss’ trip to inspect facilities in Thailand last month, that option was quickly ruled out as an option.

Austria – a previous pre-season haunt of Cotterill – has also been ruled out.

It is America where he has set his sights and it is almost finalised.

He added: ‘Things are just coming together slowly.

‘It’s something I have been working on over the last couple of weeks, really.

‘It’s hard trying to work on pre-season next season when you still want to work on this season.

‘I suppose, because of where we are, we can afford time to look at it and make sure we get it right.

‘I am not saying it will be done properly just because I am doing it.

‘This time I will get a chance to have a look at the itinerary and perhaps decide what we can do.

‘On the other side of the coin, this would be a very, very expensive pre-season.

‘But I might be getting it for almost nothing, which will be another big bonus.’