Premier League strugglers Crystal Palace had their plans for a warm-weather training getaway scuppered at the travel agents.
Palace suffered a humbling 4-0 loss at home to fellow relegation battlers Sunderland last weekend, leaving them second bottom and only above David Moyes’ side on goal difference.
Manager Sam Allardyce was keen to take his team away to sunnier climes before Saturday’s visit to Stoke, but flights to and hotels in Dubai proved elusive.
“We never booked the trip to Dubai, so it wasn’t a cancellation,” the former England boss said when asked about whether plans had been shelved.
“We couldn’t get the right flights or hotel and said we’d leave it until March.
“There’s an international break then that maybe gives us a chance to have a winter break, or maybe the next round of the FA Cup.”
Palace’s elimination from that competition means Allardyce will at least enjoy two weeks after this weekend to fully integrate a clutch of new signings into his squad, irrespective of climate.
Allardyce on addressing last weekend’s defeat ahead of preparing for Stoke tomorrow.
— Crystal Palace F.C. (@CPFC) February 10, 2017
Left-back Patrick van Aanholt signed from Sunderland for a reported £12million, with Leicester’s versatile wideman Jeffrey Schlupp arriving from Leicester City for a similar price.
The deadline-day captures of Liverpool centre-back Mamadou Sakho on loan and Luka Milivojevic on a permanent deal from Olympiacos completed a busy mid-season transfer window for Allardyce.
“All four new signings are available,” he said, with Schlupp having limped off during the FA Cup loss to Manchester City due to a hamstring injury.
“Luka’s finally in with his visa, now we’ll see if we risk throwing him in.
“Luka’s not trained much here. He got back here on Wednesday, but he’d been following the [training] programme back at home.
“Some new players will play, certainly all of them are in the squad. We have a two-week period coming up to integrate them all properly.”
Sakho could make his debut in place of captain Scott Dann, who suffered a knock during the Sunderland loss.
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