LEE CLARK says he and his players always sleep soundly before tough away games – thanks to the generosity of Dean Hoyle.
With trips to Southampton, on Tuesday, and Gillingham, on Saturday, coming up fast, the manager hailed his chairman for funding good-quality overnight stays.
And rather than return to West Yorkshire in between next week’s matches, Town will set up base on the South coast on Monday before travelling to Kent on Friday.
Town, of course, go into today’s big Galpharm derby contest with Leeds having played – and won – three away games on the bounce.
By the standards of this season’s League I fixture list, which includes eight destinations more than 200 miles away, Carlisle, Hartlepool and Tranmere were virtual local derbies.
But that didn’t prevent Town preparing properly, and Clark says that’s a big factor as his side, who recorded wins of 2-1, 2-0 and 2-0, chase promotion from League I.
“Whatever happens at away games, we can never use the distance as an excuse, because Dean and (chief executive) Nigel Clibbens are great when it comes to backing our preparation,” said the man whose side are unbeaten in five away games this year and have won four of them.
“We stay in nice hotels and have access to practice grounds close by, and training, eating and sleeping properly are crucial things for all sportsmen.”
Town, of course, should have made their first league visit to Southampton since 1971-72 back on January 16, but the game was put on ice because the St Mary’s pitch was snowbound.
It will be the fourth Tuesday in succession that Clark’s team have had an away game (after Brighton, Carlisle and Tranmere).
And both players and fans will be hoping the weather improves after their experience at perishing Prenton Park.
The game was only given the go-ahead following an afternoon inspection of a pitch which had been frozen in places, and like their travelling fans, the team bus had a difficult return journey along the snowy M62.
“There was a lengthy traffic jam and then conditions on the tops were difficult, so rather than being a straightforward hour’s drive, we didn’t get back until the early hours,” explained Clark.
At least Town are used to dealing with late returns, having made previous midweek trips to the likes of Newcastle, Walsall and Swindon this season.
On the build-up to the Tranmere game, Clark explained: “Our early reports were that the game was likely to be off, and we were planning to train in the afternoon if that had been the case.
“But we got someone to the ground to see how things were looking, and realised there was a reasonable chance of it being played.
“We were always hoping it was, because we were in good form going into the game, and the players were all really up for it.”
Town’s pace and power, especially on the counter-attack, certainly caught the eye of Tranmere manager Les Parry.
“I can’t have complaints, they scored at two good times (seven and 48 minutes),” he said.
“We thought at half-time that we were the better side.
“They had scored but all the pressure was from us and we were disappointed to go in one down at half-time.
“We felt if we kept it tight at the back and we kept on pressing like we had been doing then we could get an equaliser.
“But they score a second goal straight away and that killed us.
“They are set up for counter attacking, that is their game. They have got good pace and good players that can hurt you and they just kept turning us all the time and it was always from our attacks.
“We would be attacking, lose the ball and then they would end up with a chance.”