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Salford City to play Benfica in pre-season stunner

Salford City FC have ditched a pre-season tie with Curzon Ashton in favour of a mouth-watering clash with Portugese giants Benfica.

Last season’s Evo Stik First Division North champions – with 92 points no less – will take on the club’s Under 21 side in a match-up at the FA’s  St.George’s Park in Staffordshire at 5pm on Saturday 25 July.

It might just be the club’s most prestigious match yet since the Class of 92 takeover.

Watch: Sell-out crowd see Salford City hit Giggs, Neville, Butt and Scholes 5-1

Read: Party Time! 92 the magic number for Salford City

Salford, it seems, have made the most of their links with 50% owner Peter Lim, the Singapore billionaire who bought a controlling stake in Valencia for $475 million and splashed out over $50 million on Benfica stars Rodrigo and André Gomes.

The Ammies will have to get through less prestigious opposition in the run-up to the glamour tie.

North West Counties side Abbey Hey and historic Durham-based Shildon await, with fierce local rivals Irlam FC drawn in the annual Salford Advertiser Trophy. The Salford Advertiser, a former local newspaper, was closed by Trinity Mirror bosses in April 2015.

But Manchester United’s Under 21s come first in Salford’s first pre-season match-up on Monday 13 July.

It’s boom time at Moor Lane right now as Salford joint managers Anthony Johnson and Bernard Morley have also added some exciting-looking new faces to the squad.

Salford City new signings

Attacking winger Shelton Payne, 26, joins from FC United of Manchester where he notched up 16 goals last season.

22-year-old Salford lad Luke Giverin arrives from Hyde. Centre-mid or left-back Luke started his career with Manchester United before being loaned out to Belgian side Royal Antwerp where he made 20 first team appearances.

Liverpool-born centre-mid Luke Clark, 21, joins from Witton Albion, a former Everton and Preston North End player with exciting talent.

Craig Dootson, who starred in a crucial 2-1 upset at Bamber Bridge in January, signs on as a player-cum-goalkeeping coach.

16-year-old midfield star Matt Coughlan has been with the club’s youth team since leaving Bolton Wanderers in February 2015.

Forward Matty Chadwick, full-back Cavell Coo and goalkeepers Martin Fearon and Marcus Burgess all return to Moor Lane.

Five weeks to go and counting…


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Tom is SalfordOnline.com's News Editor and community co-ordinator.