In recent years, many English clubs have chosen Ireland as their pre-season training destination and this summer is no different with Wolves, Millwall, Scunthorpe and Blackburn Rovers among the clubs coming to the Emerald Isle.
Wolves will begin preparations ahead of their quest for instant promotion back to the Premier League when they spend this week in Carton House before taking on Bray Wanderers in a friendly at the Carlisle Grounds on Saturday. New manager Ståle Solbakken will put his players through their paces at the County Kildare venue, which has hosted Real Madrid and the Brazil national team in recent years.
Wolves’ 26-man squad for the Irish tour includes new signings Björn Sigurdarson and Frank Nouble but veteran Jody Craddock has been left at home to continue talks over a new contract. Irish trio Kevin Doyle, Stephen Hunt and Stephen Ward won’t be involved after being given an extra week off following Ireland’s ill-fated Euro 2012 campaign.
There will be plenty of Irish involvement however as Kevin Foley, who missed out on Giovanni Trapattoni’s final squad for Poland-Ukraine, former Bohemians defender Matt Doherty, Republic of Ireland under-19 international Anthony Forde and 20-year-old goalkeeper Aaron McCarey were all on the plane which departed the Midlands on Monday morning.
Shelbourne kick off a busy period for Airtricity League sides this evening when they welcome Millwall to Tolka Park. Kenny Jackett’s side played Shels last year in a friendly fixture and have returned ahead of the new season. David Forde, who was part of Ireland’s Euro 2012 squad, is likely to feature for the Lions along with former U21 international Shane Lowry and striker Andy Keogh.
Another club who have chosen Ireland for their training base is Scunthorpe United. The Iron have arrived on Irish shores with a full squad including Irish trio Jimmy Ryan, Niall Canavan and Robbie Gibbons. The League One side will play two friendlies during their stay in the capital with Bray Wanderers the opposition on Tuesday evening before Alan Knill’s side take on Wayside Celtic on Thursday.
Meanwhile, Blackburn Rovers will prepare for their Championship opener against Ipswich with a short stay in Cork. Steve Kean and his squad will stay in Fota Island before taking on Cork City at Turner’s Cross on Sunday August 12.
Liverpool, Manchester United and Premier League champions Manchester City will also take on League of Ireland opposition in the next month.
Pat Devlin’s Bray Wanderers complete a busy period when they entertain Bradford City on Saturday July 28 and the League Two side will also face Wexford Youths.