MOTHERWELL manager Stuart McCall is determined to use his side's Algarve training camp as a springboard into the new season.
Well's last training stint on foreign soil was in 2009 when Mark McGhee took his squad to Austria. With the Champions League third round qualifier at the end of July less than four weeks away, McCall has no doubt that a week in the sun will prove vital to his side's preparations.
The Fir Park gaffer will also use the training stint to decide whether to offer a deal to former Bradford defender Simon Ramsden.
He said: "The benefit of this week away will be priceless for us. We will be able to train two or three times a day without suffering from the inclement weather that greeted us on our first day back in Lanarkshire last Thursday.
"Our first pre-season friendly comes a week on Saturday at Ayr and over the course of the next few days we will really crank things up.
"Much of our success early last season was down to the quality of our pre-season and the fact that we are over here in Portugal should help us lift that again.
"Given the financial climate it is fantastic to be over here and we will make the most of the facilities to give ourselves an excellent base in terms of fitness and conditioning."
McCall's hopes of replicating last season's third- place SPL finish have not been helped by the departure of several key players.
The boss has already had £200,000 trimmed from his budget with the fluid situation surrounding the Rangers saga casting a further cloud over the Lanarkshire club's hopes of repeating last term's fine performance.
McCall said: "Losing Tim Clancy and Stephen Craigan makes it vital we get a centre-back in. That is why we have Simon Ramsden over here and the great thing about him is he has a certain amount of versatility in his locker.
"Steven Jennings informed us last week he wouldn't be back so we are three down. Ross Forbes, Gary Smith, Steven Lawless, Ross McKinnon and Jordan Halsman have all been released.
"So to say the least we are a bit thin on the ground and that will mean that youth will have to get its chance this season.
"But if we compare it with other SPL clubs then we are not going to be the exception in that regard. With the fall-out over the Rangers situation, other clubs are going to have to cut their budgets."