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Preparation so vital - Joe

Joe Jordan has underlined the importance of our matches in the Vodacom Challenge in South Africa.

Joe Jordan has underlined the importance of our matches in the Vodacom Challenge in South Africa.

The tournament kicks-off with our first pre-season match of the summer against Kaizer Chiefs at the impressive Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane on Saturday afternoon.

We then face reigning SA Premier Soccer League champions Orlando Pirates at the Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit on Tuesday before the final against either Pirates or Chiefs on Saturday week, July 23.

"It's a very important period of the season, not only to play the games but to get the training in as well," said first team coach Joe.

"We've a programme where we will have the games and, at the same time, get the basics of training ready so we're ready for the start of the season in August.

"The club has been here before and so we know we're up against difficult opposition - that's what we've come here for.

"We know we've got good training facilities and the opposition we'll play are of the standard that will make us work and give us the tough game we expect.

"Apart from Ledley King and William Gallas, we've brought a full squad out here but there are one or two players who are carrying little knocks and we have to be careful with.

"One of those is Luka Modric. He trained today but we won't risk him. Steven Pienaar isn't far away and could be ready for the games further into the programme. Other than that, all the players are progressing well.

"We want go back (to England) with players fit, in form and each individual ready for the start of the season.

"It's a case of progressing. We're looking to push on and be ready for the start of the season. We've a very difficult start to the season with Everton and both Manchester clubs in the first couple of weeks, plus our European campaign.

"That's why pre-season has to be right. Once we return home we've two more friendlies and then we're straight into it, so each game and each session for us is very important."