Leeds training camp: Mowatt and Wootton stay home as Leeds squad head for Italy

LEEDS UNITED head coach Dave Hockaday has urged his players to rise to the challenge of embracing their new start at the club - after the first-team squad returned to training at Thorp Arch.

PIC: Tony Johnson

The players will undergo two rigorous days of fitness training ahead of flying out to northern Italy on Monday for a two-week training camp in the Santa Cristini region of Val Gardena.

Hockaday confirmed that Alex Mowatt and Scott Wootton will stay back in the UK, with the pair picking up injuries in the close season.

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The duo are ‘well on the way to recovery’ according to Hockaday, who expects them to be fine when United return from Italy.

Hockaday confirmed that he expects that by the end of play today that all the club’s pre-season fixtures will be finalised.

Speaking ahead of the start of his first pre-season session in charge, he said: “It’s a new start for everyone; it has to be. What is gone is gone. I can’t control that; I can control the future, today.

“It’s up to them now. Although I write the names on the sheet, their form in training and in games picked and dictates the team. They now take control of the situation and ownership of their own performances.

“No excuses, they step over the line and perform on demand.”

Hockaday says the club are working hard on bringing in some new faces and is confident signings will be made in time for the pre-season camp in Italy.

He said: “I am very hopeful we will have fresh faces going to Italy.”