Steve Bruce reveals thinking behind Newcastle United's split-squad friendly opener this weekend

Newcastle United head coach Steve Bruce has revealed he is keen to get at least ‘60 or 70 minutes’ under the belts of all of his first-team squad this weekend, as the Magpies open up their pre-season with two matches.

Wednesday, 14th July 2021, 6:00 am

Half of United’s first-team group will travel to the York Community Stadium Leisure Complex for an encounter with York City, while the rest will head to Harrogate Town’s The EnviroVent Stadium. Both games are set for Sunday afternoon.

And Bruce admits he’s keen to see as many players as possible in his first-team pool blow off the cobwebs with gametime out on the park.

“We have got two at the weekend so we want to give everybody in the squad at least 60 or 70 minutes,” said Bruce, who is heading into his third campaign in the top job at St James’ Park.

Fabian Schar, Callum Wilson and Jamal Lewis of Newcastle United applaud the fans after the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Sheffield United at St. James Park on May 19, 2021 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England.

“We will break the squad up and bring the 23s down as well. We see this as an exercise in getting what we want in terms of minutes into the players' legs.”

Bruce is set to be in the dugout for the Magpies’ game against the Minstermen, with another member of the club’s senior coaching staff overseeing the rest of the group at League Two outfit Harrogate.

United follow up their pre-season opener with trips to Doncaster Rovers, Rotherham United and Burton Albion before newly-promoted Premier League side Norwich City are the visitors to St James’ Park prior to the start of United’s top flight campaign against West Ham United on Sunday, August 15.

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