STOKE CITY head off on their travels again this week . . . with manager Tony Pulis expecting the final two stages of their pre-season build-up to be every bit as tough in their own way as the first two parts in Switzerland and the United States.
Pulis’ squad head for the south west to play two matches in the space of 24 hours against League Two side Torquay United and League One outfit Yeovil Town, before they round off their preparations with a trip to Germany on Friday.
City’s boss was full of praise for the attitude and application shown by his players during the eleven-day trip to the USA in some demanding conditions.
The surroundings and weather will be a stark contrast in the south west, but Pulis has warned: “It will be just as tough for us in these two matches.
“Both Torquay and Yeovil are in the final stages of their pre-season, so they will really be up for it. They will want to produce a good performance against Premier League opposition to set them up nicely for the start of their League campaigns.
“They will provide us with a big test and the cooler conditions will no doubt mean that the pace of the games will be different to those in the States.”
He added: “The first three weeks of pre-season have been really, really tough for the players and they should feel the benefit of it from now on.”
Pulis will play a part in the official opening of a new stand at Plainmoor before the kick-off of Monday evening’s meeting with Torquay.
Following their visit to the south west, City will fly out to Germany at the end of the week to take on Bundesliga newcomers Sp Vgg Greuther Furth.
“I have never taken a team to Germany before, so that will be another new experience like the States,” he commented. “They have just got promoted to the top League in Germany; they’ll be flying and so that will be another tough one.”