Blackpool’s squad returns to training today, without their manager.
Paul Ince has been forced to attend the U20’s World Cup in Turkey as part of his pro-licence coaching badge.
The Pool boss has been joined by the likes of Ryan Giggs and Gary Neville for the eight-day case study part of the course.
That means assistant managers Alex Rae and Steve Thompson will take charge of the depleted squad’s return for the rest of this week and half of the warm-weather training camp in Portugal.
Pool have only 12 senior players as it stands, although they are in talks with a number of potential targets.
MK Dons have accepted an offer for former loan man Gary Mackenzie and the Seasiders are hoping to conclude a deal before flying off on Sunday.
While Ince realises the coaching qualification is important, he’s not happy about missing the start of pre-season.
“It’s a nightmare, I’m annoyed really,” he said.
“I’m in Turkey for my pro licence and we are over here doing a case study for eight days.
“The timing of it isn’t great, we could easily have gone to Israel and done it there.
“It’s not just me, people like Ryan Giggs and Chris Powell are coming too, and have jobs to do.
“At this time of the season I want to be thinking about my players and the coming season.
“Instead I’m being dragged over to Turkey for eight days, it’s not great timing.
“But it has to be done. I’ll be flying straight from there to Portugal to catch-up with the players.”
Pool’s players will report to Bloomfield Road this morning before heading to the University of Central Lancashire for fitness tests.
This afternoon they’ll come back to the Fylde coast for more fitness work.
It’s all building up to the big kick-off on August 3, with a huge local derby against Preston in the League Cup only two days later on Monday August 5.
The game has been chosen as the live clash for Sky Sports, and will now kick-off at 7:45pm.
It’s the first time the clubs have faced each other since 2010, and Pool are expected to take up to 5,000 fans down the M55.
Manager Ince says he can’t wait.
“That’s a game which I wish I could play in myself, me and Alex Rae would love to be in the midfield for that one,” he admitted.
“Our priority is the league and always will be, but a good cup run can breed confidence.
“It will be a tough game, they will be up for it.
“It’s a good draw for our fans and their fans, I’m sure the banter going on will be great.”