Oxford United kick off pre-season with a game against Portmarnock at Tolka Park this evening (7.15pm)
United face three games in three days- Portmarnock on Monday, Longford Town on Tuesday and UCD on Wednesday evening and boss Karl Robinson has been full of praise for the way his players have prepared over the last couple of weeks:
"I couldn't have asked much more" he told iFollow this morning. "They are a good group and they have worked extremely hard. It will be good to get into matches. They will each have 45 minutes in these games, then that will step up to everyone playing 60 minutes when we go to Oxford City and Hamptoin and Richmond at the weekend. I hope the fans over here enjoy the three games and then we look forward to seeing everyong else back home on Saturday."
Young striker Owen James flew in to join the squad today with only Rob Hall sitting out the first few games as a precaution:
"People have seen the pictures and videos of Hally training all week so there's no problem or cause for concern and he is very close to being fully fit, but we don't want to risk anything by putting him into a competitive match right now. He'll work on the training ground and then be back in the squad in a week or two's time.
"Everyone else will have their chance. The new players have fitted in really well and we are looking at maybe five or six more before the season starts. We thought one might fly out to join us- one still might before the end of the week- and although I'm sure the fans are a bit frustrated not to have more new players at this stage we will have by the time the season starts again."
Karl has been swamped with media requests this week asking him about England star Dele Alli, a player he helped when they worked together at MK Dons.
"It's funny" he said "four years ago we sat and watched the World Cup in the very same hotel we are staying in now. He's a good character, got great people around him, and it has been nice to see him progress. Who knows where some of the Oxford players watching the game in the same hotel on Wednesday may be in four year's time..."
See more of this interview in iFollow right now.