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15 Jul 2021 12:37:46
When the pre-season fixtures with Guiseley, Blackburn and Fleetwood were announced, I said the first and third looked like second string fixtures, and presumed three more would be announced.

Some suggestions that now we’re looking to arrange a fixture against Real Betis for 31 August. If something like that is sorted, that would leave another second team match for Friday 6 August and the first team game the following day. Most Prem teams are sorting matches between each other for that weekend. If we were to go down that route, 4 other teams remain: West Ham, Southampton, Brighton and Burnley.

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15 Jul 2021 15:56:18
I seem to think we haven't really had any truly competitive pre-season games lately. Am I wrong?
I assume Bielsa is happy that his training is harder than matches so there really is minimal need.

15 Jul 2021 19:44:22
Yeah Bielsa seems to prefer his players to play each other than other teams preseason.

16 Jul 2021 13:42:46
Last pre-season was different due to c.v.

In Bielsa’s first pre-season, the only opposition of any standard was Las Palmas in the last game. Other games were against Forest Green, York, Southend, Oxford and Guiseley. The low level opposition was presumably to enable the squad to get used to Bielsa’s patterns of play in possession.

The second season included the Oz tour, with games against man utd and Western Sydney Wanderers. Previous games were against York and Guiseley, with the last one being v Cagliari.

Given that was in preparation for his second assault on the Championship, I would fully expect the final games of this pre-season to be against a decent standard of opposition, with Real Betis (who finished 6th in La Liga) seemingly being lined up as one of them.

16 Jul 2021 15:05:02
As I was saying…….

Fixtures confirmed v Real Betis and Ajax.

16 Jul 2021 19:11:39
Decent games. Both at home?

16 Jul 2021 23:41:13
Neither at home, as pitch needs to settle a bit more, and other work possibly still ongoing in the stadium, like new dugouts.

Real Betis will be at Loughborough Uni - I guess they may be based there during their short UK tour - playing Fat Waz’s Tups before us (probably mainly Betis’ second string for that game) . We’ll be taking on Ajax at the Johan Cruyff Arena.

Guess there’s still scope for another match the following weekend.

Previously, Simon Grayson let on that Bielsa had made a specific request to Fleetwood in relation to our fixture with them, which is the day before the Real Betis game. Listening to the Phil Hay podcast on The Athletic, it transpired that Fleetwood had already played their first pre-season game, and that this had been played over four quarters, of 30 minutes each (so 120 minutes in total) , and with two different teams. Phil was speculating that might have been trying out a match format requested by Bielsa.



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