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A different sort of challenge for Town

PUBLISHED: 15:00 31 July 2009 | UPDATED: 11:15 06 July 2010

WHILE the Blues players were toughing it out with the Parachute Regiment, tonight's opponents Real Valladolid were enjoying the comforts of a spa resort.

WHILE the Blues players were toughing it out with the Parachute Regiment, tonight's opponents Real Valladolid were enjoying the comforts of a spa resort.

The La Liga side will this afternoon make their way to Portman Road from Champney's Spring Health Resort in Ashby-de-la-Zouch in the Midlands for the start of their five-match English tour.

The Spanish club have played just two pre-season friendlies so far, winning 5-2 at CD Iscar and losing 2-1 at Zamora CF.

After tonight's game (kick-off 7.30pm) against Town, who have won three and lost three of their pre-season fixtures, Real go to Leicester, Stockport, Stoke and Wolves before returning home and a clash with Celta Vigo.

The arrival of Real, who escaped relegation last season by finishing 15th in the Spanish top flight, will see a reunion between two Manchester United team-mates. Town's £1.5m signing from Old Trafford Lee Martin will meet up with Portuguese international Manucho who joined the Spanish side after loans spells with Panathinaikos and Hull City while he was with the Red Devils.

Martin has struggled with a hamstring injury for the past week but, like Liam Trotter, who has a similar problem, is hoping to be fit enough to play tonight.

David Wright has been ruled out with a rib injury sustained in the 2-1 loss at Charlton, while Alan Quinn and Kevin Lisbie are recovering from groin strains. Shane Supple has recovered from his injury but Richard Wright is likely to keep the No. 1 shirt.

Damien Delaney, who along with Alex Bruce has been put on standby for the Republic of Ireland's friendly against Australia on August 12, has had a niggle since the early part of the week but took part in the team-building exercise at Colchester Garrison and should start at left-back.

After something different for the squad in terms of training this week, manager Roy Keane expects the game against Spanish opposition to throw up a unique challenge for his senior players in their final match before kicking off their league programme at Coventry City on August 9.

Keane said: “Our new fitness coach, Antonio Gomez, knows about them. We've watched them on television and they will look to keep possession of the ball for long periods.

“It's a game that I'm sure we will learn from and one that we are looking forward to. It offers a different challenge.”

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