Serie A club set to play Newcastle in pre-season friendly at St James Park
Recent seasons have seen a regular summer pattern of Newcastle playing a number of warm-up matches away from Tyneside, before a solitary pre-season friendly at St James Park just before the season starts.
That process is looking likely to be followed according to reports on Monday morning.
A training camp in Ireland and a friendly at Bradford City have already been suggested as strong possibilities and now a game against Serie A opposition appears to be on the cards.
Fan site nufc.com report that the official Hellas Verona website is talking about a game at St James Park in pre-season.
The newly promoted side don’t mention a date or confirm the game as definitely happening but the very fact that the club themselves are talking about it, means that it must be very much on the cards.
The reasoning behind the potential fixture isn’t difficult to work out, with it being an opportunity for Rafa Benitez to welcome back his former assistant Fabio Pecchia.
Rather than staying to help Rafa with Newcastle’s promotion, Pecchia decided to step into a management role himself and has done an outstanding job.
In 2015/16 Hellas Verona finished rock bottom of Serie A and were in disarray, only for the new Manager to turn it around and secure automatic promotion as runners-up on the final day of the season.
Recent seasons have seen Newcastle usually play a single home pre-season friendly a week before the league season begins, which would make Saturday 5 August the stand out date.
Both the Premier League and Serie kick-off on the weekend of Saturday 12 August so the timing of this potential friendly would appear to work for both clubs.
The level of opposition would also fit with what has gone before, with the days of ‘sexy’ pre-season opposition seemingly well behind us, as a succession of lesser low key clubs from the continent have visited St James Park, including Real Sociedad, Braga and Vitesse Arnhem.
Pre-Mike Ashley, we saw the likes of Juventus, Bayern Munich and Barcelona visiting Newcastle for friendlies, a higher level of opposition which attracted big crowds.
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