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The seasons starts here

Tomorrow lunchtime, Newcastle make the short trip across the A69 to Cumbria to take on Carlisle to kick off the pre season programme. They will travel with a large away crowd who will get to the first opportunity to see what kind of effect the summer has had on the current squad, with weight gains and losses hoped for depending on who the player is, not mentioning any names of course. 

Kevin Nolan Newcastle United 2008/09 Stoke City V Newcastle United (1-1) 11/04/09 The Premier League Photo Robin Parker Fotosports International

However, most eyes will be on those who are less recognisable to the trained eye of the Toon Army, with James Perch set to make his debut. His arrival has sparked a fair debate on whether he will be able to make the step up to the Premier League, and although his first outing will come against League One opposition he will have the opportunity to make a good first impression.

Also, with mass substitutions always a common factor in these games, Hughton may choose to blood some of his youngsters from the so-called ‘development squad’. Haris Vuckic in particular has attracted a lot of coverage in the local press, and it will be interesting to see how he has come on after an injury-free summer and another year with the first team. Newcastle have been starved of an exciting attacking midfielder since Dyer left, arguably, and it would be encouraging to see if we have a new starlet on our hands and save us a wad of cash in the transfer market.

Apr. 16, 2010 - United Kingdom - Football - Newcastle United v Aston Villa FA Youth Cup Semi Final Second Leg - St James Park - 16/4/10..Newcastle's Haris Vuckic (C) in action with Aston Villa's Danny Devine (L.

In goal, Hughton has been tipped to give either Krul or Forster a half in goal as well as Harper. We already know about the latter and looks a top prospect, but few Mags would have seen Forster and after a very successful spell at Norwich last season it would be refreshing to make an assessment of his improvement. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if it is the local lad who gets the nod tomorrow so Hughton can judge whether he is good enough to cover Harper this season and allow Krul the opportunity to go out on loan.

Other than that, we may see the likes of Donaldson, Airey, Folan and Adjei get run outs, along with more proven youngsters such as Kadar and Ranger, who may also benefit from being sharked out to a Championship side for the season.

All in all, it should be a good day out for all concerned. It’s Carlisle’s centenary year at Brunton Park so it’s a big day for them, while the relatively easy journey for Toon fans and the chance to finally kick-start the season will be a welcoming experience.

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