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Arnhem Diary.

Byline: ANDY SKINNER

Ross County's Championship title-winning campaign began with pre-season trip to Holland last year - and the Staggies have returned for more of the same.

County set up camp at the Fletcher Hotel in Doorwerth on the outskirts of Arnhem 12 months ago with a view to integrating their new-look squad which had been assembled following their relegation from the Premiership.

It proved to be a successful recruitment drive from co-managers Steven Ferguson and Stuart Kettlewell, who steered the Staggies to promotion back to the top flight at the first time of asking.

This time around, the trip is no bonding exercise. Ferguson and Kettlewell have largely kept faith with the squad which achieved success, with only four new summer additions so far.

The co-managers reckon familiarity will be key to the Highlanders' hopes of making a successful top-flight return and the trip back to these surroundings is in keeping with that mantra.

The hot conditions upwards of 20 degrees celsius have once again provided a testing workout environment for the players, at the Sportpark De Waayenberg ground which is home to amateur club VV Duno and just a five minute walk from the team hotel.

County will play their second and final warm-up match of the camp at this facility against French second-tier outfit Valenciennes on Sunday, however their immediate attention will be focused on tomorrow's friendly against a Groningen side which finished eighth in the Eredivisie last term.

These opponents are of a similarly high calibre to Utrecht who the Staggies faced last year, a fixture which the co-managers credited with helping their side hit the ground running once competitive action started.

County's players were put through their paces at an intensive rate during an hourlong match on a reduced-scale pitch yesterday, and they are sure to face another demanding day of preparation today.

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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Press and Journal (Aberdeen,Scotland)
Geographic Code:4EUNE
Date:Jul 4, 2019
Words:307
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