Gateshead boss Malcolm Crosby hopes that Newcastle United’s visit tomorrow night could be the start of a beautiful friendship.
Crosby welcomes old pal Steve McClaren to the International Stadium for a pre-season friendly (8pm kick-off).
It will be the first game in charge of their respective clubs for both men, with former Sunderland boss Crosby having taken over at The Heed after Gary Mills’ departure in the summer, while McClaren was appointed Newcastle head coach a week later.
Tomorrow night will be a reunion between the two men who first worked together at Oxford United before McClaren appointed Crosby as his reserve-team manager when he was at Middlesbrough.
Newcastle are set to take a strong side to Gateshead before they jet out over the weekend to USA for their pre-season tour. And Crosby admits it will be a stern test for his Conference outfit against a team containing international players.
He said: “They’re bringing the first team over, which is fantastic for us and the players to be up against Premier League players.
“For a first game, it’s quite a tough one!
“I’m sure the players will be really looking forward to the challenge.”
It’s not just the game tomorrow that Crosby has his eyes on, however, with the 60-year-old believing closer links with the Magpies could help him out over the course of the season.
Crosby is hoping to loan a few players from Newcastle, or either of his former sides Boro and Sunderland to help Gateshead’s bid for promotion.
“Hopefully, he (McClaren) might lend us some of his better players.
“I’m very fortunate that I’ve got great connections at Middlesbrough from my time there, and they’ll help if they can.
“Sunderland, obviously, I’ve got good connections with Paul Bracewell and Kevin Ball. They’ll be the same. And Newcastle are trying to create some kind of alliance with us.
“What you can’t do in this league is play too many kids.
“It’s a man’s league – it’s a tough league – and if they come to the club they’ve got to physically manage that.
“That’s the important thing.”