NUFC new boys set for debut


NEW boys Gael Bigirimana and Romain Amalfitano have hit the ground running at Newcastle United.

The midfield pair could make their debuts in Friday’s pre-season friendly away to German side Chemnitzer.

Amalfitano, 22, officially joined the club on July 1 after leaving Reims as a free agent, while 18-year-old Bigirimana was signed from Coventry City last week in a deal worth up to £1m to the League One club.

Newcastle manager Alan Pardew feels the duo can both have an impact this season.

And they have already made an impression on United’s No2 John Carver in pre-season training, which started in earnest late last week at the club’s Benton base.

“They’ve settled in really well,” Carver said. “Gael looks a great athlete, and both are good characters.

“They want to work hard. We’ll find out more about them over pre-season. From what I’ve seen of them, they’re very promising players.

“They’ve joined a top club, and they haven’t been overawed by it. That bodes well for the future.”

Amalfitano didn’t play a top-flight game in his native France, while Bigirimana only made his senior Coventry debut last season.

However, what they lack in experience, they made up in talent and enthusiasm, and if they impress over the coming weeks they could find themselves on the fringes of Pardew’s side going into the new campaign.

“They’ve been bought for the future, but they could come in and impress straight away,” added Carver.

“That can happen, and there could be opportunities for them. Players can do that when you don’t expect it.”

Meanwhile, Braga have replaced Porto as one of Newcastle’s July 28 opponents in a tournament on the Algarve. Alan Pardew’s side will also take on Olympiakos 24 hours earlier at the Algarve Stadium, near Faro.

United are due to fly to Germany tomorrow ahead of the Chemnitzer game, which is still to be officially confirmed by the club.