Graham Arnold will kick-start his A-League tenure at Sydney FC with a full pre-season schedule, including a new mini-tournament in Townsville in August.
Graham Arnold will hit the ground running in his first A-League campaign at Sydney FC with the glamour club loading up its pre-season schedule.
The Sky Blues are set to play three matches in a new mini-tournament in Townsville from August 24, alongside reigning champions Brisbane Roar and the Newcastle Jets.
Arnold has planned a nine-day camp around the event, which will be hosted by – and also feature – former A-League outfit the Northern Fury.
The competition comes shortly after Sydney FC play their round-of-32 fixture in the inaugural FFA Cup and much-hyped exhibition tour of New Zealand.
The club face English Premier League giants Newcastle United in Dunedin on July 22, followed by a clash with West Ham United in Wellington four days later.
Arnold, appointed head coach earlier this month after Frank Farina’s sacking, said the ‘Townsville Cup’ will test the progress of his men just over a month out from the start of the 2014-15 A-League season.
“To be playing good quality opposition in a competitive environment is also ideal preparation for us and we are looking forward to the trip,” he said on Friday.
The tournament is also set to test new Jets coach Phil Stubbins, who is attempting to rebuild a side that hasn’t reached the finals for four years in a row.
He said the camp in North Queensland was the ideal way for him and his players to gel both on and off the field.
“It’s rare for an A-League team to be able to have time away like this for an extended period in pre-season, and it will augur well for our preparation,” Stubbins said.
“By the end of August, I expect the three clubs will have most of their squad settled, so the people of Townsville and north Queensland will have one of the first opportunities to see how the teams are faring heading into the A-League’s 10th season.”