CHERRIES manager Eddie Howe is planning to arrange a “testing” pre-season campaign to ensure his players are ready to hit the ground running.

Howe will take his squad to Austria for a five-day training camp in July where the hard yards will be put in during the early part of pre-season.

He was keen to take his squad abroard after being encouraged by the success of last season’s training camp in Switzerland and Austria.

Cherries are in the process of organising their pre-season friendly campaign and have pencilled in a visit from Scottish giants Rangers.

Howe is also planning to play friendlies against league opposition and will keep to the tradition of fielding teams against local non-league clubs.

However, while Cherries were fortunate to pit their wits against Real Madrid last summer, Howe said he did not anticipate a similar high-profile friendly next season.

He told the Daily Echo: “We will certainly be looking to get a testing campaign to test our players to the maximum before the start of the new season.

“When you go away, you look to try to build relationships and team spirit and get some really important work into the players. You are building the foundations for what you hope will be a successful season and it is a very important part of the year.

“The training camp will allow us to take the players away from their normal environment where we can get the work in somewhere they are away from distractions.

“There are a whole host of benefits to going away and the trip last year to Switzerland was excellent and certainly helped us this season.”

  • BELFAST-BORN former Cherries striker Warren Feeney has landed the manager’s job at Northern Ireland’s most successful football club, Linfield.

The Blues, ever-present members of their top flight, have won 51 league titles during their illustrious history.

Feeney, 33, will be assisted at Windsor Park by former Bolton, Charlton, Blackburn and Derby defender Andy Todd.