Sunday saw claims of a proposed Hearts v Newcastle friendly.
The Newcastle United pre-season friendly schedule is being released on a dripfed basis, with last week seeing the club confirm (see below) away games at Preston (Sat 22 July 3pm) and Bradford (Wed 26 July 7.30pm).
Now news from north of the border adds substance to Hearts potentially being the next one announced.
The Edinburgh Evening News report that both Hearts and Newcastle are keen for the pre-season friendly to go ahead, with police approval said to be awaited and subsequently the date of when it can be scheduled.
A match between the two teams would see Hearts head coach Ian Cathro meeting up with his former manager Rafa Benitez.
Cathro was assistant to Benitez at St James Park before he left to take up his first managerial job in Edinburgh last December, Ian Cathro being the only one of Steve McClaren’s coaching staff that he retained when taking over at Newcastle in March 2016.
If the Hearts v Newcastle clash does go ahead, travelling Toon fans will find only three stands open at Tynecastle with a new main stand currently under construction.
NUFC stated last week 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 of a game 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.
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.’