West Ham United can confirm five pre-season fixtures to be played in the build-up to the 2018/19 Premier League campaign.
The Hammers will travel to Switzerland for a training camp and game against Challenge League side FC Winterthur before returning to England to face four EFL clubs.
Manuel Pellegrini’s side will travel to Championship trio Aston Villa, Preston North End and Ipswich Town and League One new boys Wycombe Wanderers as they prepare for the start of the new top-flight campaign on Saturday 11 August.
The manager says the matches will build the base fitness levels and relationships to sustain them for the Premier League season ahead.
“Pre-season is all about preparation and these matches will definitely help us to prepare for the Premier League season ahead," said the Chilean. “We will use our training camp and these five fixtures to increase the players’ fitness levels and to help them to improve their relationship on the pitch.
“We will work hard every day in pre-season and take each of these matches very seriously, so that we can continue to get better and better and be ready for the Premier League.
“I know English football and all four of our opponents are proud and historic clubs who will provide us with strong challenges.
“These matches will also be opportunites for us to show our supporters the work we have been doing on the training pitch and I am sure, like me, the fans are already looking forward to them.”
We will work hard every day in pre-season and take each of these matches very seriously, so that we can continue to get better and better and be ready for the Premier League
West Ham will spend ten days in Switzerland, during which they will take on FC Winterthur at a venue to be confirmed on Sunday 8 July at 3pm local time.
On their return to England, West Ham will make the 50-mile trip to Adams Park to take on Wycombe, who won promotion from League Two under Gareth Ainsworth last term, on Saturday 14 July at 3pm.
The Chairboys have a strong and experienced squad that includes powerful centre forward Adebayo Akinfenwa and former Scotland striker Craig Mackail-Smith.
A week later, on Saturday 21 July, West Ham will travel north to Deepdale to face Championship side Preston – the first time the two clubs have met since West Ham’s 2005 Championship Play-Off final victory over the Lilywhites – for another 3pm kick-off.
Managed by Alex Neil, Preston enjoyed a fine 2017/18 campaign, finishing seventh in the second tier to miss out on the Play-Offs by just two points.
The North End fixture will see two centre forwards face their old clubs – Jordan Hugill joined West Ham after scoring ten goals for Preston last term, while Republic of Ireland striker Sean Maguire netted nine times for the Lancastrians, having spent two years in Claret and Blue between 2013-15.
West Ham’s third domestic pre-season match will see Pellegrini’s side travel to the West Midlands to take on Championship Play-Off final runners-up Aston Villa.
The fixture will take place at Walsall’s Bescot Stadium - pitch renewal work means Villa Park is unavailable - on the evening of Wednesday 25 July, with kick-off at 7.45pm.
Steve Bruce’s experienced squad, who were edged out 1-0 by Fulham at Wembley, includes former Hammer Henri Lansbury, who won promotion with the Hammers in 2012.
West Ham will then travel to another opponent with whom they have Play-Off history, Ipswich Town, on Saturday 28 July at 3pm.
The Tractor Boys, who the Hammers beat on their way to the Play-Off final in both 2004 and 2005, remain in the second tier, where they finished 12th last term.
Since then, Paul Hurst, who managed Shrewsbury Town against West Ham in the FA Cup in January, has been appointed as the new manager at Portman Road. Hurst’s squad includes two former Hammers in the shape of attacker Freddie Sears and full-back Jordan Spence.
Ticket details for all five pre-season fixtures will be confirmed in due course.
West Ham United 2018/19 Pre-Season Fixtures
v FC Winterthur, Venue TBC, Sunday 8 July, 3pm CEST
v Wycombe Wanderers, Adams Park, Saturday 14 July, 3pm
v Preston North End, Deepdale, Saturday 21 July, 3pm
v Aston Villa, Bescot Stadium, Walsall, Wednesday 25 July, 7.45pm
v Ipswich Town, Portman Road, Saturday 28 July, 3pm