Phil Hay is with Leeds United in Austria. Here is his first diary piece.
Pre-season touring parties are often an indication of who’s in favour at a football club and who might be moving on.
Adam Drury’s omission from Leeds United’s trip to Austria was confirmation that the 21-year-old won’t be joining the club - and Nicky Ajose’s absence will be taken as a sign that his time at Elland Road is also up.
Uwe Rosler spoke highly of Ajose in the early days of pre-season but at least one League One club have been told that the 23-year-old is available, along with Steve Morison and Billy Sharp.
Morison and Sharp are both in Austria but Rosler has been open in saying that he has too many strikers in his squad. Sheffield United retain a firm interest in Sharp and Millwall are being touted as a possible destination for Morison, despite his high wage.
One player who did travel unexpectedly yesterday was Luke Murphy. The midfielder is recovering from knee surgery but will continue his rehabilitation in the Alpine air while Leeds prepare for friendlies against Eintracht Frankfurt and Hoffenheim.
United’s 25-man squad for their tour of Austria and Norway is: Adeyemi, Antenucci, Bamba, Bellusci, Berardi, Bianchi, Byram, Cook, Cooper, Coyle, Doukara, Erwin, Horton, Morison, Mowatt, Murphy, Phillips, Sharp, Silvestri, Sloth, Taylor, Turnbull, Walters, Wood, Wootton.
Austria seems to be a popular destination for pre-season. Fulham and Hull City are both in these parts and Frankfurt will follow up Tuesday’s game against Leeds with a friendly against Fulham on Saturday.
Frankfurt’s training camp is in Windischgarsten, some way east of United’s base in the village of Kossen. The German club have happy memories of that location: three years ago, following their promotion to the Bundesliga, they used Windischgarsten to prepare for another successful season in which they qualified for the Europa League.
None of these teams, however, have gone to the same lengths as Manchester City did ahead of their visit to Seefeld in western Austria in 2012. That tour was reported to have cost City around £250,000, including specially designed mattresses bought at £1000 a go.
Their prep was so meticulous (or so it was said) that they even asked the local church to stop ringing their bell for the duration of their stay. The church apparently refused.
Part of Uwe Rosler’s motivation for using Austria as a training base was the fact that the weather was unlikely to be ludicrously extreme.
The temperature in Salzburg is not what you’d find in Dubai or the Far East but it’s stifling all the same and Leeds will play Frankfurt in 33 degree heat.
Massimo Cellino attended United’s training camp in Santa Cristina last year but the club’s owner is missing their tour of Austria and Norway.
Cellino is currently back in Sardinia on business and is not planning to travel to Tuesday’s game against Frankfurt. “I wanted to be there but I have work to do in Italy,” he said.
Roaming charges are a menace on foreign trips so last week United’s new media manager, Ryan Parrish, dug out a company phone in preparation for the trip abroad.
The mobile in question once belonged to Paul Dews, the club’s old press man who left it behind when he joined Middlesbrough as their head of communications last year. The number remains at large and for the past few days Parrish has been fielding call after call - about Boro’s new signing, Stewart Downing.