Newcastle United face Saudi Pro League champions Al-Hilal as part of their mid-season trip to Saudi Arabia.
The clash is one of two friendlies Eddie Howe’s side will play ahead of the Premier League restart. The Magpies host La Liga side Rayo Vallecano at St James’ Park a week on Saturday but first focus on Al-Hilal.
What time does Newcastle United v Al-Hilal kick-off?
Kick-off between Al-Hilal and Newcastle United at the Prince Faisal bin Fahd Stadium is 5pm GMT, or 8pm AST on Thursday, December 8.
How can I watch/ live stream Newcastle United v Al-Hilal?
Newcastle United have announced the friendly will be streamed free of charge on NUFC TV. All you have to do is log in, or create an account, if you haven’t already done so.
What’s the latest Newcastle United team news? Will Alexander Isak play?
Eddie Howe has taken 28 players to Riyadh, with youngsters Alex Murphy, Joe White, Jay Turner-Cooke, Jamie Miley and Dylan Stephenson stepping in for Kieran Trippier, Nick Pope, Callum Wilson, Fabian Schar and Bruno Guimaraes who are at the World Cup.
A number of Newcastle’s first-team stars are set to feature against Al-Hilal, including the likes of Sven Botman, Miguel Almiron, Joelinton and Allan Saint-Maximin. Two players who aren’t expected to feature, however, are club-record signing Alexander Isak (thigh) and Paul Dummett (back).
“I don’t expect him to feature in those games,” Howe said on Isak. “We’ll try and get him fit for Bournemouth or Leicester but we’ll have to see how it goes.
“There’s no setback. There was an initial setback when he re-injured his thigh and as a consequence of that we just want to make sure we get him fully fit.
“He’s doing well. This was the plan. We didn’t expect him to train with the group when we first started training so he’s with the sports scientist team and physios.”
Emil Krafth is part of the group in Saudi Arabia but won’t play as he continues his recovery from an ACL injury.
What’s Eddie Howe said about Newcastle United v Al-Hilal?
Howe said: “The break for the World Cup gives us the opportunity for a mini pre-season ahead of a crucial part of the season.
“Our trip to Jeddah in January was pivotal for us last season. It galvanised the group, and the hard work the players put in was rewarded in performances and results on our return.
“We will have access to world class facilities as refurbishments at our own training ground continue, and we look forward to facing Al-Hilal and playing in front of our growing numbers of supporters in the region.”
He added: “First thing we did is the test the players and find out where they were physically compared to the tests we did during pre-season and from those tests the players were in a good place, which you probably expect as it’s only been two weeks and a couple of days rest but you can still lose a bit of fitness even in that short space on time.
“Because it’s such a short window, the minute we start working, the players will quickly get back to the levels of a very good physical condition.”
In addition to the match, Howe and his players will be attending meet and greet events with supporters at Hyatt Regency.