The Newcastle United pre-season friendly schedule is being released on a dripfed basis.

The past week has seen the club confirm (see below) away games at Preston (Sat 22 July 3pm) and Bradford (Wed 26 July 7.30pm).

The club have also confirmed that as usual there will be a pre-season friendly at St James Park on the weekend (of Sat 5 August) before the Premier League season starts.

NUFC state that we will find out that opposition, as well as the details of other friendlies, in the ‘coming days’.

However, the Hellas Verona official website has already indicated that they have discussed the possibility with Newcastle, so Rafa Benitez meeting up with former assistant Fabio Pecchia is looking very likely on 5 August at SJP. Pecchia having led Hellas Verona back to Serie A at the first attempt.

Sunday morning has seen claims of a pre-season friendly north of the border, with a game at Tynecastle said to be on the cards.

Fan website nufc.com say that they understand that Hearts are set to host Newcastle in a game this summer, though no date or final confirmation as yet.

If the game goes ahead it would of course see Rafa meet up with former coach Ian Cathro, who has had a tough time at Hearts since taking over in December.

In the past Newcastle have regularly played friendlies against Scottish Premier League opposition, usually away from home, with the likes of Rangers, Celtic, Hearts, Motherwell and St Mirren all taking on the Magpies.

A friendly in Berlin is another game that has been claimed to be planned, as well as Newcastle said to be returning to Ireland for a training camp to help prepare for the Premier League campaign ahead.

Newcastle United official announcement -Wednesday 7 June:

Newcastle United will travel to Preston North End for a pre-season friendly next month.

The Magpies will make the trip to Deepdale on Saturday, 22nd July for a 5.30pm kick-off.

United clinched promotion back to the Premier League with a 4-1 victory against the Lilywhites at St. James’ Park in April.

And Rafa Benitez’s side were 2-1 winners at Deepdale in October, having beaten North End 6-0 in the EFL Cup earlier that month.

Simon Grayson’s side finished 11th in the Sky Bet Championship last season. Ticket details will be announced in due course.

Benítez’s pre-season plans are beginning to take shape, after a friendly at Bradford City was confirmed on Tuesday. United will head to the Northern Commercials Stadium at Valley Parade for a 7.30pm kick-off on Wednesday, 26th July (subject to final confirmation with the relevant authorities nearer the time).

And the Magpies will announce details of further pre-season friendlies in the UK and in Europe – including a home game on the first weekend of August – over the coming days.’