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.
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.
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.