Cats will not suffer any harm on Peace trip says Sunderland boss O’Neill

NOT WORRIED: Martin O'Neill
NOT WORRIED: Martin O'Neill

MARTIN O’Neill believes there will be no long-term harm to his squad from making the 12,000 mile round trip to South Korea in pre-season.

The Black Cats were due to land in Seoul today after a punishing long-haul flight via Dubai, having set off yesterday afternoon.

They will make the return trip exactly one week later after a week spent in hot and humid conditions in South Korea’s rainy season.

It’s the sort of long-distance trip that has been blamed by fans of Premier League clubs in the past for their team’s poor start to their season.

But the Sunderland manager says he doesn’t envisage any repercussions from the journey and the club’s involvement in the Peace Cup.

“I here what people have said about too much travel in pre-season and I take that on board,” he said.

“But I don’t think those concerns really apply to this trip because there are a lot of mitigating factors as far as our involvement is concerned.

“For a start off, there’s the fact that half-a-dozen of our first-team squad haven’t travelled because of their international involvement over the close season.

“We’ve got some staying behind through injuries and Ji Dong-won is also not with us because he’ll be over in England for the Olympics.

“But even if we’d been taking everyone across, I wouldn’t have been too concerned.

“Had we been going to South Korea just before the start of the season it would have been more of an issue.

“But we’ll be back on the 23rd of July – almost a month before the season starts – and that will be more than enough time for players to recover.

“I think that on top of that, the fact that we’re also only going for a week and playing two games is also a help – it’s not like we’re going for a fortnight and having four or five games.”

SEE Tuesday’s Mail for full story and more Sunderland news