By Dan King - Newcastle United Club Reporter
Reserve Team Manager Willie Donachie insists this summer's shake-up of second-string football is a good thing, and believes his young players will benefit from the new-look league set-up.
The old Barclays Premier Reserve League, which was divided by regions, has been replaced by the Barclays Under-21 Premier League for the new campaign - part of a radical overhaul of youth development in this country.
United's fringe players kick off their season at home to Tottenham on Saturday, just like the first-team - a far cry from the midweek matches of years gone by.
And although most games will take place on Monday evenings, Donachie believes his players will be better prepared for senior action if and when they make the step up to first-team level.
"Personally, I just love games on a Saturday," the former Scotland international and Manchester City player told nufc.co.uk. "If we could play Saturday every week, that would be ideal for me; train all week and play on the Saturday, and have Sunday off.
"Sadly that's not the way football is but hopefully it'll be close to that, either playing Friday, Saturday, Sunday or Monday so at least we'll have a game at the weekend.
"It suits me, and it's going to be against very good opposition. That's the way you learn, by playing against people who are better than you or who are good players."
This week, it was announced that the trip to Stoke on 3rd September will be played at the Britannia Stadium, while Newcastle also have matches at Southampton's St. Mary's stadium and Sunderland's Stadium of Light as well as a home derby at the Sports Direct Arena.
"They're going to have games at stadiums, which again helps," Donachie said. "I know when I was young, to play in a big stadium in front of a decent crowd inspired you.
"It makes you want to be a top player and play in front of big crowds at big stadiums all the time, so it's going to help."