Dubai trips not a hol­i­day for Stoke and Sun­der­land

The Pak Banker - - MARKETS/SPORTS -

Dubai breaks are "no jol­lies", ac­cord­ing to Stoke City boss Mark Hughes and Sun­der­land coach Sam Al­lardyce, who have both brought their clubs to the emi­rate this week.

Nei­ther English Premier League (EPL) side is in ac­tion this week­end as they are out of the FA Cup, so they have in­stead set up camp in Dubai. Sun­der­land will train at Dubai Sports City and Stoke are at Nad Al Sheba Sports Com­plex. But with both sides hav­ing only won once in the last five games - Stoke are 10th in the league and Sun­der­land are se­cond from bot­tom - both coaches are highly sen­si­tive to the sug­ges­tion that this will be a hol­i­day.

"Peo­ple might look at it and think it's a jolly, but that's not the case," said Hughes, whose side ar­rived in Dubai on Tues­day fresh from beat­ing 15th placed Bournemouth 3-1 away on Satur­day. Next up they face bot­tom-of-the­league As­ton Villa at home on Fe­bru­ary 27.

"There are real ben­e­fits that we glean from trips of this na­ture. We did it last sea­son and came back and had a great fin­ish to the sea­son. We're hop­ing that's go­ing to be the case again this time. We'll have four or five days in Dubai.

It's an op­por­tu­nity to re­view things. "It will be of par­tic­u­lar ben­e­fit for Gian­nelli Im­bula," he added of the Bel­gian mid­fielder, who joined the Pot­ters from Porto for a club record £18.3 mil­lion in Jan­uary. "Be­cause it's a chance for him to real- ly get to know his new team­mates, but I think the whole squad will ben­e­fit from it. "The trip has come at ex­actly the right time - we feel we can re­cu­per­ate and re­cover and we're al­ready look­ing for­ward to our next game against [As­ton] Villa." Rel­e­ga­tion-threat­ened Sun­der­land ar­rived in Dubai on Mon­day af­ter beat­ing Manch­ester United 2-1 at home on Satur­day.

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