Norwich City helping out Ipswich Town old boy Frank Yallop
Norwich City are hosting MLS club Chicago Fire as Fire head coach and former Ipswich stalwart Frank Yallop prepares his side for the new season.
Yallop spent 13 years at Portman Road before embarking on a coaching career which has included spells at San Jose, LA Galaxy and Chicago since 2013.
A Norwich City XI is scheduled to play their American visitors in a behind-closed-doors practice game on Thursday as Fire step up their planning for the 2015 campaign.
'Trevor James, my chief scout, is from Norwich and he spoke to the club and Dunston Hall to figure it all out,' said Yallop. 'I came over in November to look at it as I wasn't sure - being an Ipswich person - but thought it would be great and the club has been fantastic to help out. It's a great set-up, and everyone from the manager downwards has been great in making us feel welcome.
'Last year was tough for us, and we've got a lot of new players so one of the reasons I wanted to come away was to get them to bond. When you come to places like this you're away from it, and rely on each other because there's no relatives or places that are familiar.
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'I feel good about it; we've got some good weapons going forward but time will tell. It's our new season, and a challenge we're looking forward to.'
Fire will look to improve on a ninth placed finish in the Eastern Conference in 2014 and have brought in former Wigan midfielder Shaun Maloney during the close season.
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Chicago will spend a total of eight days in Norfolk, before travelling to London for a three-day stint training at Premier League QPR.
'It's the start of our pre-season, so I wanted to bring the guys over to a football environment,' Yallop told Norwich's official site. 'Coming here has been great so far, having arrived a couple of days ago. We've had adverse weather, so it gets our guys ready for the season, which is coming up pretty quick.
'Usually we go to warmer climates in the States, but a couple of years ago I went to Tottenham with San Jose (Earthquakes) and trained there. Our guys really enjoyed it, so I thought we'd do the same sort of thing this season with the Fire.'