Preston North End were today starting the next stage of their pre-season training programme across the water in Ireland.
The Lilywhites squad flew to Cork last night for a few days of training and team bonding, that coming on the back of 2-1 victories against Bamber Bridge and Chorley.
They are based at Fota Island, the same facilities which the Republic of Ireland used for a spell in the build-up to Euro 2016.
PNE boss Simon Grayson and his No.2 Glynn Snodin spent time with the Irish squad there at the end of May, that giving them the opportunity to see at first-hand the facilities on offer.
Grayson told the Evening Post: “It is nice to get away for a few days.
“It is a nice place, I was out there watching Ireland in the summer.
“We will get a lot of hard work done as well as doing some team bonding – we’ve got a game arranged too.
“It will be a week of intense work, more so with the footballs than the fitness stuff we have been doing at Springfields.
“The first 10 days or so are always the hardest part of pre-season, we have done a lot of running and been in the gym.
“But nothing beats getting game time on the pitch and working on your fitness during football sessions.”
North End had booked to go to Fota Island before Grayson had his summer visit, the trip underlining to him the high standards of facilities on offer.
“It was the perfect opportunity to go out there and watch Ireland train with Martin O’Neill,” said Grayson.
“It enabled me to double check on the facilities, I wanted to see them for myself and work out what we could also do away from the pitch.
“We are going to go out on mountain bikes for additional fitness and do other bits and bobs like that.”
North End will play Fulham while they are there – the London club are also training at Fota Island.
An ankle injury suffered by Tommy Spurr will be monitored during the trip.
The defender rocked his right ankle 10 minutes from the end of the Chorley game on Saturday, with him leaving Victory Park on crutches.
Assistant manager Snodin reported that there was some swelling to Spurr’s ankle but it was hoped any absence would be short.
Bailey Wright and Callum Robinson sat out the visit to Chorley, having collected knocks at Bamber Bridge the night before.
North End had to come from behind to beat Chorley, having conceded a first-minute penalty which Josh O’Keefe tucked away for the Magpies.
Joe Garner equalised in the 57th minute, with Jordan Hugill heading the winner seven minutes later.
After PNE’s return from Ireland, their first friendly back is at Oldham a week tomorrow.
The Latics appointed one-time Preston midfielder Steve Robinson as their new manager on Saturday.