Town's pre-season trip to Germany is taking shape
PUBLISHED: 10:00 20 March 2019
Ipswich Town are set to spend pre-season in Germany, with general manager of football operations Lee O'Neill confirming the summer trip is in the planning stage.
Prior to last summer, the Blues had spent a week in Ireland for five successive seasons as former boss Mick McCarthy readied his side for the new campaign, before Paul Hurst took his team for a week’s training in Spain prior to the start of this season.
Now, though, they are set to spend time in Germany with work ongoing regarding a training and match itinerary for the trip.
“We are looking at the planning stages at the moment and what that might look like and what our time over there might look like,” O’Neill said.
“Jim Henry (fitness coach) has had a massive part to play in that because he’s been there with previous clubs and built pre-season programmes.
“It’s not been fully cemented in terms of who we might play and what we’re doing on each day but the pre-season trip around Germany is in place and something we’re looking at.”
The club’s growing link with Bundesliga side Fortuna Dusseldorf, who currently sit 12th in the German top flight, is likely to feature as part of the trip in some form.
Fans of the German club have regularly attended Ipswich games in recent years, making the trip at least once a season, while the two played a friendly in Dusseldorf in the summer of 2015 for which a large group of Ipswich fans made the trip.
Fortuna won that gam3 4-3, with Freddie Sears, Brett Pitman and Ainsley Maitland-Niles on target for McCarthy’s side.
“There is obviously a good link with Fortuna Dusseldorf and I was lucky to be on the trip a few years ago,” O’Neill said.
“They come across and bring several hundred fans over with them to come and watch our games so the idea there is to try and link up with them and look to do something while we’re in Germany.
“The exact plans haven’t been finalised though.”
Ipswich boss Paul Lambert spent part of his career playing for German giants Borussia Dortmund, winning the Champions League in 1997.
He has subsequently taken his teams to Germany in pre-season during his time as a manager, with Norwich playing there in 2011 before his Villa side visited in 2013.
Lambert hasn’t overseen a pre-season in club football since the start of the 2014/15 season, with his stays at Blackburn, Wolves and Stoke all lasting less than a full campaign.