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Under-23s prepare for season opener

Written by Dan King

Newcastle kick off their Premier League 2 campaign against Stoke City on Friday night (kick-off 7pm BST).

Peter Beardsley's under-23s have enjoyed an excellent pre-season campaign, lifting the Whitby Town Challenge Cup with victories against Celtic and AZ Alkmaar and defeating Gateshead, Darlington and Ashington in friendly matches.

But the real action gets underway at St. George's Park, the Football Association's national football centre in Burton upon Trent, later this week.

Ivan Toney - who was United's top scorer in pre-season - has joined Wigan on loan but the likes of Daniel Barlaser and Stuart Findlay, who both made their first-team debuts last season, are likely to start while Curtis Good could also play.

United just missed out on promotion to the Premier League 2 top flight last season, losing 2-1 to West Ham in the play-off final at St. James' Park.

Last season, goals from Good, Luke Charman and Callum Roberts gave the Magpies a 3-2 win in the Potteries, while Roberts was on target in a 1-1 draw against Glyn Hodges' side at Whitley Park. 

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