Newcastle United Under-23s boss Peter Beardsley is relishing the Whitby Town Challenge Cup, as he prepares to send his young guns to the Seaside.
The Magpies are set to open July’s tournament, as they face Celtic in the first game at the Turnbull Ground.
The Newcastle United legend is hoping to give his side the experience of playing against both a professional and semi-professional outfit over the weekend.
“For us, it’s the perfect chance to give our boys the experience of playing against a top professional side in Celtic, and potentially a non-league side in Whitby Town.
“To be fair, it’s something that we try and open up to the lads. We do play, with all due respect, non-league teams as we like them to get to grips with the physical aspect of the game.
“Hopefully we’ll get past Celtic and meet Whitby in the final. It would be great for Whitby, with all due respect, and it would be good experience for us.
“In terms of the distance between Whitby and Newcastle, and the locality of the sides, it would make the perfect final.”
Beardsley’s squad includes the likes of recent FIFA Under-20 World Cup heroes Adam Armstrong and Freddie Woodman, though the Under-23s manager believes that should the pair be called upon by Rafa Benitez, first-team duties will come first.
“Without being clever about it, it’s our job to produce players for the first-team and if Rafa (Benitez) wants them with him, they’ll go.
“We like to win games with our strongest team and they have to learn to do that, but it’s not the be all and end all. A player of ours in the first-team is a feather in our cap.
“There’s one or two looking towards the first-team. Whether they’re ready or not though it isn’t for us to decide. I might think they’re great, but I may have a different opinion to Rafa.”