Darlington will face a Newcastle United U23s side containing four players with first team experience when the two sides meet at the Northern Echo Arena on Monday night.
Defenders Curtis Good and Stuart Findlay, midfielder Dan Barlaser and winger Yasin Ben El-Mhanni were all given first team opportunities by Magpies boss Rafa Benitez last season and will be hoping to make an impression on the former Real Madrid manager this season.
The Magpies also named new additions Juanito and Tyrique Bartlett in their squad. The latter is the son of former Charlton Athletic and South Africa striker Shaun Bartlett.
The two sides met at the same venue last season, with United running out 5-1 winners thanks to goals from Haris Vuckic, Ivan Toney, Callum Roberts, Lubomir Satka and Sean Longstaff.
The match plays an important part in Darlington’s preparations for the upcoming Narional League North season and Martin Gray is anticipating a “really tough test against a very talented team”.
Speaking to the official Darlington website he said “I’ve looked through the Newcastle squad, and there are certainly some very good players in there,”
“There are lads who have been at Newcastle for several years, having come through their youth system, and so they have improved their game as they have got older, to the point that last season they were pushing for places in the first team squad. Some of them have played in the first team, which proves their pedigree.
“They have also signed some players during the summer, who presumably they have watched on many occasions, and view them as potential first team players.
“They are also under the guidance of Peter Beardsley, whom everyone knows is a Newcastle legend, and he will be instilling some very good habits into his players.”
Kick off at the Northern Echo Arena is at 7pm.
Article: Mark Carruthers (@marknldaily)
Images: Reuters Media