As the Golden Boys flew back to Luton Airport today we reflect on what has been a promising and exciting few days in Austria as the Hornets look to build up a squad of new and existing players ready for the 2018/19 campaign.
The exact location of the Golden Boy’s training ground was kept under wraps this year but was said to be within the Alpine Regions. The Golden Boys had arranged to play behind-closed-doors friendlies against 1. FC Köln on Tuesday July 17 and Fortuna Düsseldorf on Saturday July 21.
These two friendlies have allowed Head Coach, Javi Gracia to find out his best squad forthcoming to the ever approaching Premier League season.
Day 1 of pre-season saw the Golden Boys take a light hearted session in the Austrian country side after jetting in early hours with Javi Gracia easing his side into what will be a tough week for his players.
[left to right] Femenia, Sema, Marriapa, Wilmot and Cathcart take a jog in the rain
The two ‘Brum’ strikers working on their fitness [Sinclair, left] [Deeney, right]
Going into Day 3, Javi Gracia’s men were heading into their first test against German Second Division side FC Köln. The game rode out 1-1 in a promising opening game for the Golden Boys as Andre Gray popped up to get himself on the scoresheet- promising stuff from the 27-year-old.
Gray finished from 5 yards out from a low driven cross from Ken Sema
Day 4 gave the squad an opportunity to reflect on their opening game together and recover ready for their fixture up against Dusseldorf the next day. The Medical team were left to improvise in the way of ice baths for the players as Roberto Pereyra put it to the test; the icy rivers of mountainous Austria.
Day 5 saw the Hornets face up against a strong Fortuna Düsseldorf side. The Golden boys ran out 3-1 winners with goals coming from Isaac Success, Skipper Troy Deeney and young striker Jerome Sinclair. The game allowed squad players to get valuable game time under their belt as Javi Gracia put out two sides for each half of the game. The game also allowed trialist Jack Rodwell to make an appearance in the yellow stripes.
Isaac Success puts the Golden Boys a goal to the good after 8 minutes
Troy Deeney got onto the score sheet after a header from yards out to put the ‘Orns 2-1 up
Jerome Sinclair was on the end of a great passage of play to send the Golden Boys 3-1 up
The final day in Austria saw a double session put in by Javi Gracia’s men before flying back to Bedfordshire where the Golden boys will face Stevenage [a], Brentford [a] and Sampdoria at home for the ‘Graham Taylor Match day’.