Is it plane crazy for Baggies to rack up quite so many air miles?
WEST Bromwich Albion run the risk of burning out the players before the Premier League season even gets underway.
Not because of the exhausting workout the players are currently subject to out in Austria, more the draining amount of air miles the team are set to clock up.
The Baggies are set to travel in excess of 14,000 miles to training camps and friendlies during preseason – more than all but three of their Premier League rivals.
Much of the mileage will be racked up on the excursion to Hong Kong where Albion will take part in the Premier League Asia Trophy alongside Liverpool, Leicester and Crystal Palace.
But there is also the training camp in Austria, where Albion take on Czech champions Slavia Prague tomorrow in what will be their first test of pre-season.
And a trip to Spain to play former West Brom manager Pepe Mel’s Deportivo La Coruna a week before the season starts.
All of Albion’s pre-season matches will be away from the Hawthorns although the domestic fixtures are relatively local.
After returning from Hong Kong, the Baggies face a series of shorter hops to Walsall, Burton Albion, Bristol Rovers, Slough Town, Port Vale and Kidderminster Harriers.
Leicester City fans felt their title defence was hampered by an exhaustive 2016 pre-season schedule that saw them travel to Scotland, California and Sweden.
And with such a small and aging squad, there’s a genuine ALBION are increasingly confident of signing versatile Bournemouth defender Marc Wilson.
Wilson has been left out of Bournemouth’s pre-season training camp in Marbella to continue talks over a possible £1m move to the Hawthorns.
It’s thought a deal could be sewn up this week with the Cherries keen to make salary savings following the big-money arrivals of Jermain Defoe, Nathan Ake and Asmir Begovic. concern Albion’s hectic pre-season programme could cause more harm than good.
Albion’s tiring summer voyage is, however, far shorter than Arsenal’s.
The Gunners will travel in the region of 21,202 miles – further than any other Premier League team – with fixtures arranged in Sydney, Shanghai and Beijing.
Manchester United have the next biggest tour at 18,622 miles, while Chelsea are the only other Premier League club that will travel further than Albion, with a 14,617-mile journey to navigate.
Baggies boss Tony Pulis is a huge fan of the 29-year-old.
Pulis signed Wilson for Stoke City in 2010 before bringing him to West Brom on loan in January. Wilson was drafted in as defensive cover, with his ability to play anywhere across the back four seen as a massive plus. And his remit, should his move to Albion go through, is not likely to change.
Capped 25 times by Ireland, Wilson joined Bournemouth in a £2 million deal last summer.
Albion’s stars face a gruelling travel itinerary before the big kick-off