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INTERVIEW | Phil Parkinson previews Chelsea friendly

Parkinson looks ahead to tonight's fixture in Chapel Hill

19 July 2023


INTERVIEW | Phil Parkinson previews Chelsea friendly

Parkinson looks ahead to tonight's fixture in Chapel Hill

19 July 2023

Phil Parkinson’s side will take to the pitch in North Carolina for the first time tonight, as the first of four-pre-season friendlies kick-starts in Chapel Hill.

The Red Dragons face off against Chelsea in front of a sold-out 51,000 at the Kenan Stadium, which will also be Mauricio Pochettino’s first match as the Blues Head Coach.

Parkinson took a travelling squad of 26 to the USA, which is set to be utilised every step of the way across the States.

Ahead of tonight’s game, Parkinson explained he is looking forward to seeing the players return to action in Chapel Hill.

He said: “For us, it’s about pre-season progression. We’re two and a half weeks away from the season starting and physically it’s a good workout for those who get on the pitch.

“We want to make sure that the physical data is high, where it needs to be, and comparable to where it should be when the season starts.

“We’re up against a top-class team and it might be an evening where they have more possession than we do, which is great because we can work on our structure without the ball.

“We played Manchester United last season at their training ground, and it was a fantastic exercise for us, and I expect tomorrow night [speaking on Tuesday] to be no different.”

Members of the first-team squad and staff such as Mark Howard and Dave Jones sampled the crowds in North Carolina during the TST 7-a-side tournament back in June.

The Wrexham Red Dragons reached the quarter-finals, before being knocked out during target score time.

Now the full first-team squad will get the experience on a much larger scale, Parkinson added it’s a chance for them to enjoy the occasion.

He said: “We had a few of the staff who are with us on this trip that went over to the tournament, and nobody really knew what to expect.

“They got a real feel for it, and they said there was good support for Wrexham in the area which is fantastic for us.

“It made us even more eager to get over here and be a part of it.”

As well as the four-pre-season fixtures in Chapel Hill, Los Angeles, San Diego and Philadelphia, there will be a packed schedule for the squad.

Before yesterday’s open training session at WakeMed Soccer Park, the players got to experience the University of North Carolina’s training facilities.

With a busy itinerary ahead on and off the pitch, Parkinson stressed he wants the players to grasp the opportunity and make memories across the tour.

He said: "We’ve had a couple of chats with the lads about the trip and embracing each area that we are in. We want them to find out what the area is all about.

“We had a talk last night in the hotel with the lady who is co-ordinating the trip about the University and the surrounding area.

“Sometimes when you go on these trips, you go to the training ground and come back, and people will ask you what was it like and you’ll say I don’t know I didn’t see it.

“I really don’t want that to happen on this trip because I want them to get the most out of each day with training, but also so we’ve got a story to tell when we get back."



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