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‘We’re here to put in the hard yards,’ says Hartley on Dundee’s Austrian trip


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Clean, heathy eating, daily double fitness sessions and an all-out alcohol ban. If any slacker in Dundee’s 23-man travelling party imagined their warm weather training camp in Austria was set to be a walk in the park, they’ve had a rude awakening, according to boss Paul Hartley.

Despite spending less than 24 hours across the Austrian border, the Dark Blues, who flew into Munich from Edinburgh in the early hours of Sunday morning before the long, windy drive to the Upper Austrian region, have already had three training sessions.

And the players should expect more of the same for the remainder of the five gruelling days the squad have left under the baking heat of the mid-summer Austrian sun, says the gaffer.

“Obertraun is a beautiful facility — this is a place the players can enjoy but we are here to work, make no mistake about it,” said Paul, whose side are currently sharing the facility with English Championship side Blackburn Rovers, managed by former St Johnstone boss Owen Coyle.

“It is a fantastic facility we have use of but we are here to put the hard yards in.”

The scenery may be beautiful around them, based in the stunningly-picturesque mountain village of Obertraun, a facility used by the likes of Everton in recent years as well as city rivals Dundee United, but what has taken place on the training field has been brutal.

A plan, devised by club fitness guru Tam Ritchie, has seen the squad, who rounded off their pre-season with a 1-1 draw at Alloa on Friday evening, put through their paces both physically and mentally.

Pic by David YoungPic by David Young

Long gone are the days of ‘eat and drink what you like’ — alcohol and junk food are strictly off the menu.

Even talk of the obligatory away trip night out — allowed two summers ago in Budapest but binned for last year’s preparations — has been kicked into touch early doors.

The gaffer says the hard work, to right the wrongs of last season’s disappointing eighth-placed finish starts now.

“We want the passing and the movement sharpened up. And we will work on a few other things as well,” said Paul.

“We have to get better. Last season was a disappointment but that’s all behind us.

“We need to sharpen things up over the next few weeks and try to improve.

“I’m certain we will improve. The signs are already there. You could see it at Alloa last week.

“We made some changes to the team and we had some players missing, also.

“Friday was all about getting players minutes. We will be better by the time the League Cup comes around.

“We thought because of the new format we had to change our summer.”

Meanwhile, the gaffer’s search for defensive reinforcements goes on, although the Dark Blues have not taken any players on trial to Austria.

Two years ago Paul organised for Luka Tankulic and Thomas Konrad, who later signed permanent deals, to join the squad, on the recommendation of former Hearts boss Czaba Laszlo, at their Budapest training base.

As things stand no such arrangement has been struck, despite the manager searching the length and breadth of the continent for a centre-back.

Despite that, Paul is happy with the make-up of his squad, barring the obvious James McPake-shaped hole in the heart of defence.

“The squad is shaping up nicely”, he said.

“We are nearly where we want to be in terms of the numbers.

“Preparation for us, so far, has been good.”

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