Huddersfield Town finalise preparations for the 2014-15 season tonight when they host Premier League Newcastle United at the John Smith’s Stadium.
Mark Robins’ senior squad – while maintaining a high workrate on the training ground – have had victories so far against AEL Limassol, SC Portimonense, AFC Guiseley and Sheffield United, while going down in fruitful workouts against Scunthorpe United and Oldham Athletic.
Robins has learned plenty from those games to take in to the Championship campaign and he’s hoping the clash with Alan Pardew’s top-flight side will serve as the perfect barometer for Saturday’s home league opener against Bournemouth, when Town are hoping leading scorer James Vaughan will be fit after a calf niggle to play at least some part.
The Newcastle side will feature some familiar names and includes players to have featured in this summer’s World Cup such as Tim Krul and Moussa Sissoko, but the Magpies are expected to field a host of new signings with their season due to get under way a week after Town cross the whitewash for the first time on August 9.
Pardew will want to bed in his wealth of reinforcements – seven in total – and offer them playing time against Town in what is sure to be a competitive encounter.
But how much do we know about Pardew’s new arrivals?
Here’s the lowdown on each:
Daryl Janmaat is 25, a right back from Feyenoord, and he signed a six-year contract when he made his £5m move.
He is said to be defensively reliable and made an impressive 79 tackles from just 30 appearances in the Eredivisie last season, resulting in a starting berth at the World Cup with Holland, where he made five appearances as the Dutch reached the semi-finals.
Jack Colback , a 24-year-old central midfielder signed from Sunderland on a free has a five-year contract.
The pint-sized midfielder’s move from Newcastle’s arch rivals Sunderland caused a stir in some quarters, having been schooled by the Black Cats since the age of eight.
That came off the back of 33 first-team outings last term, with three goals to his name – including a strike in a 3-0 win at his new club.
Remy Cabella , 24, is an attacking midfielder signed from Montpellier at a cost of £12m.
He signed a six-year contract after getting 14 goals for his side last season, managing to work his way into the France national team as a result for the World Cup. He did not make an appearance as Les Bleus exited at the quarter-final stage.
Another attacking midfielder is Siem de Jong , 25, who signed a six-year contract when completing his £6m move from Ajax.
He led Ajax to their fourth consecutive Eredivisie title, having been made captain in the summer of 2012 and, while last season was not his most productive, he still fired seven league goals en route to title success.
Emmanuel Riviere , 24, is a striker from AS Monaco, who cost Pardew £6m and has a six-year contract.
Riviere joined Monaco in January 2013 and helped them to the Ligue 2 title before finding the net 10 times in 30 games last season in the French top flight (they finished runners-up to Paris Saint-Germain).
Pardew has also added two more strikers in Ayoze Perez and Facundo Ferreyra.
The 21-year-old Perez was signed from Tenerife for £1.5m on a five-year deal and Newcastle reportedly had to beat off competitions from a host of suitors including Arsenal, Everton and Real Madrid to secure his services. He netted 16 times in 34 appearances at Segunda level in Spain last term.
Ferreyra , 23, is the latest arrival from Shakhtar Donetsk, on a season-long loan with an option to buy.
He was able to make only eight first-team appearances last season but scored six times, proving he knows where the net is. His move is fuelled by his refusal to return to the Ukraine amid the political unrest.