Is it plane crazy for Bag­gies to rack up quite so many air miles?

Birmingham Post - - SPORT - Paul Suart Foot­ball Writer

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

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