Leeds United: Whites forego overseas summer training camp

LEEDS UNITED's squad will put in the hard yards of their 2018-19 pre-season entirely on home soil with the club deciding against a tour abroad as part of their summer plans for 2018.

Thursday, 31st May 2018, 4:47 pm
Updated Wednesday, 6th June 2018, 11:32 am
United's Forest Green Rovers capture, Jordan Stevens. PIC: Shane Healey/FGR FC

United were looking at the possibility of going abroad, with Italy and Portugal potential destinations, but the club were reluctant to dedicate precious time to travelling.

Instead, United’s entire pre-season will be carried out in Britain with four, or possibly five, fixtures away from home topped off with a clash against Spanish outfit Las Palmas at Elland Road on Sunday, July 29 (3pm kick-off).

United’s Elland Road pitch will be resurfaced over the summer, meaning another potential friendly against as-yet-unnamed opposition would have to take place elsewhere on Saturday, July 21.

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Forest Green Rovers manager, Mark Cooper's father, Terry, played for Leeds United in the 1960s and 70s. PIC: James Williamson

If arranged, that fixture would be the showpiece game of pre-season.

But so far, in addition to the friendly against Las Palmas, the club have confirmed details of four warm-up games away from home beginning with a trip to League Two outfit Forest Green Rovers on Tuesday, July 17 for a 7pm kick-off.

The fixture was arranged in January as part of the deal to bring teenage midfielder Jordan Stevens to Elland Road.

The clash at Forest Green will mark United’s first fixture of their pre-season with United’s players set to return to training on Monday, June 25.

Three weeks of intense training will follow before the clash at Forest Green which will then be followed by a friendly at National League North outfit York City two days later on Thursday, July 19 (7pm).

Leeds then visit League One side Oxford United the following week on Tuesday, July 21 (7.45pm) with an another away clash at another National League North side, Guiseley, on the agenda for Thursday, July 26 (7.45pm).

Elland Road will be out of action until the clash with Las Palmas on the final Sunday in July owing to the resurfacing of the pitch.

The resurfacing had to wait until after both Josh Warrington’s IBF featherweight boxing world title fight against Lee Selby which was held last month and England’s upcoming friendly and World Cup warm-up game with Costa Rica which takes place next Thursday.

The countdown will then be on to United’s first pre-season friendly at Forest Green who are managed by Mark Cooper, son of former Leeds United 1960s and 1970s favourite Terry.

“It is a really prestigious game for us to announce as our first pre-season friendly,” said Rovers boss Mark.

“Leeds United are a massive club and, historically, for myself and my family, it’s a game that will mean a lot to us and it’s one I will look forward to.

“It is something that we negotiated into the Jordan Stevens deal that all adds into the income of the club, which is another plus. They’ll be bringing their first team, so it will be a strong test for my players and one we should relish.

“Leeds always bring a big following wherever they play so we’ll be hoping for a big crowd at The New Lawn.”

Forest Green’s The New Lawn ground has a capacity of 5,147 with the pre-season opener presenting a 377-mile round trip from Elland Road.

Leeds, meanwhile, have never played Gran Canaria-based Las Palmas who finished second bottom in this season’s La Liga, demoting them to the Segunda Division next term.

Information on tickets for the above fixtures will be released shortly.