Cotterill starts pre-season planning

Joel Ward, Marlon Pack and Tommy Smith trudge off the pitch in Washington during Pompey's tough pre-season tour of north America

Joel Ward, Marlon Pack and Tommy Smith trudge off the pitch in Washington during Pompey's tough pre-season tour of north America

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Steve Cotterill is eyeing a Pompey return to south east Asia as he bids to avoid last summer’s pre-season nightmare.

The Blues boss has already started to draft up plans for the summer tour to get his side’s preparations for the 2011-12 campaign exactly how he wants them.

Cotterill blasted the ill-conceived trip to USA and Canada last July, which saw his team spend the majority of their time at airports because of delayed flights and often travelling long distances between venues.

He feels that had a serious impact on the Blues’ poor start to the season.

But this time around Cotterill will have more input on making sure there is plenty of time for training.

And he hinted Pompey could be heading to owner Balram Chainrai’s backyard, Hong Kong, as one of five possible destinations.

Cotterill explained: ‘We have definitely started thinking about it. I have started opening up a bit of dialogue about it and we’ve got quite a few places at the moment.

‘America could be a possibility, Thailand, Hong Kong, China or Austria – they are the places we will be looking at.

‘After what happened last year, I will have a hands-on role in dictating how the schedule is planned, for sure.

‘It depends on what the chairman wants to do.

‘He might like to have his club out in Thailand, Hong Kong or China.

‘We have to look at whether the chairman would want us out there, first and foremost.

‘If he wants to show his club off a little bit, that would probably be the preferred option at the moment.’

Pompey won the Asia Trophy in Hong Kong in the summer of 2007 – a trip which kicked off a season that eventually culminated in the FA Cup success.

And Cotterill has had good reports over the facilities.

He said: ‘The club has been out there before and the staff who are still here have told me that the trip was first class.

‘The facilities were fantastic. We’ve just got to make sure we can get it all together but I think that would be a very good trip.

‘Someone contacted me the other day about America, which would only be on the east coast this time. We wouldn’t be flying here, there and everywhere.

‘I like Austria. It’s a lot more accessible for the supporters and the times I’ve been over there, if you get lucky, you get some good opposition to play.

‘The facilities are good and it’s a beautiful country.’

While the cost differs with each trip, Cotterill is determined that any tour will be tailored to suit his players.

He said: ‘America we could get done for next to nothing, whereas Austria we would have to 100-per-cent pay for.

‘For Thailand, we would need a few games out there to supplement things.

‘The one thing we are not going to do this year is spend pre-season in an aeroplane or on a runway. We can’t afford to do that. It was not a pre-season for footballers.

‘But we would have to start booking flights and trying to get games fitted in soon.

‘There is an international break coming up and it might be worth trying to get over there to have a look.

‘I could suss something out in five or six days but we’ll have to wait and see.’

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