Sunderland boss Martin O’Neill was planning to use the trip to Dubai to integrate his January signings into the squad.
Well lets see if the Middle East mission has worked when the Black Cats take on West Brom on Saturday.
Fans have endured a stuttering season so far and with no real consistency with results, it is unclear as to which Sunderland team will turn up at The Hawthorns.
Kader Mangane, Alfred N’Diaye and Danny Graham have all come in during the transfer window and O’Neill is hoping they can strengthen the side that could have done with a break following just one point in three games.
But where is he going to use his three signings?
Mangane has already sat on the bench and watched games for Sunderland, so after an extended trip away with the squad he should be more than familiar with his new team-mates.
He looks a big, powerful young lad but O’Neill seems adamant to play John O’Shea at the back. But when Titus Bramble is the best player in red and white against Arsenal, who does the boss leave out?
N’Diaye has played in the four games he has been available since signing and looked impressive against Wigan, but has been found to be a little too enthusiastic when it comes to covering ground.
Then you have the Danny Graham problem and whether or not he will play a part in O’Neill’s plans.
Stephane Sessegnon has reverted to a wider position in the side, which means O’Neill has more central midfielders on the pitch playing out of their natural position.
But if it works it works.
Graham will not be happy warming the bench after his £5m move from Swansea City but will have to be patient with O’Neill’s tactics if the system he has stuck by is to work.
Ha’way the lads.