HUDDERSFIELD Town returned for training today knowing Spanish Giants Barcelona are on their pre-season agenda.
The Galpharm club will play a first home friendly in two years against the Catalan superpower on Wednesday, August 8 (7.45).
While it’s the Barcelona B team who are touring England – they will also play Town’s Championship rivals Bolton Wanderers – they are sure to include some up-and-coming future stars and add genuine spice to the build-up for Simon Grayson’s side.
Barcelona B play in Liga Adelante, the equivalent of the Second Division, and all their major stars have, at one time, been in their line-up.
With Spain the shining light of international football – World and European Champions – and Barcelona being a huge club power, it’s a terrific draw for chairman Dean Hoyle, his board, the football staff and supporters.
Town will open just the Direct Golf lower tier for the game, the north end of the upper tier and the Britannia Rescue stand unless demand dictates otherwise.
They are charging £10 and £5 (all pay at the gate) for the fixture against a team which is likely to include Cristian Tello, who has played forBarcelona’s senior side in the Champions League.
Scott Arfield was the only player unable to take part when Town returned for pre-season training at Canalside. But boss Simon Grayson is hopeful the ankle injury victim will be back to fitness within a fortnight, meaning he could be involved in the tour of his native Scotland.
Town have friendlies at Kilmarnock (Wednesday, July 25) and Hibs(Saturday 28) as part of a week-long training camp. And Arfield, a star of Town’s League I play-off final win over Sheffield United, will be keen to stake his claim for a midfield berth. The 23-year-old was forced off in the semi-final first leg win at MK Dons, but came off the bench at Wembley, where he put away a penalty in the 8-7 shoot-out win.
However it was later discovered the injury was in fact a hairline fracture, with Grayson explaining: “Scott was having difficulty running as part of his summer fitness schedule. But we’ve identified the problem, he’s had treatment, and now it’s a case of letting nature take its course.”