DAVE KEMP believes that Stoke City’s players are feeling the benefit of their break with tradition this year . . . as they prepare for the second game of their pre-season tour to the United States against Orlando City on Saturday evening.
Whereas City have normally kicked off their build-up to the season with a training camp in Austria before playing warm-up games back in England, this time they began in Switzerland and will also head for Germany after their trip to America.
It has been a schedule that has been as notable for its amount of travelling as it has been for the amount of intensive fitness work up to now.
Ahead of the meeting with the club with which they are affiliated, the players returned to their three sessions-a-day routine after a well-earned break from that routine for 24 hours in which they were able to enjoy some of the attractions in Orlando.
A 7.00am start for training on Friday morning, which has been a regular feature over the past two weeks, was a reminder that it was back to the business of getting prepared for the big Premier League kick-off against Reading in three weeks time.
But Kemp said: “This is all a new experience for most us, just as the Europa League was last season. It’s important from time-to-time to introduce change, rather than going through the same routine that we have been used to for a number of seasons.
“This has been an interesting venture for the Club to come to America on the back of being in Switzerland, so there is a lot of travelling involved.
“But it’s good to shake things up a bit and work in different environments, even though the long term objective remains the same, and that is to have everything in place and be well prepared when the first League game of the new season comes around.”
City have enjoyed excellent hospitality on the second leg of their USA trip and Kemp added: “The facilities have been fabulous for us over here.
“There has been a lot of travelling, but the players have adapted well and this has certainly been good preparation for the new season so far.
“The training has been very intensive, with a lot of emphasis on fitness, but the three sessions-a-day are needed to make up for the time spent travelling. Because of the heat and humidity, the 7.00am session is usually the toughest one of the day.”
The Potters will head for Kansas City on Sunday morning after they have faced Orlando City where they will spend the last four days of the tour.
“We will be keeping up the intensity for now and then it will settle down once we get closer to the Reading match,” said City’s assistant manager.
“It’s all about building up to that first game and we will start to get more organised in terms of the team’s shape once we get back to England.”
Kemp Story Orlando
Therefore, Kemp confirmed that they would once again be giving almost all of the squad in the USA game time when they face Orlando.