Premier League duo Crystal Palace and Leeds United will do battle in Australia in a pre-season friendly at the Optus Stadium on Friday.
Both teams will be looking to bounce back from friendly defeats against top-flight opposition last time out, with Palace losing to Manchester United while Leeds were beaten by Aston Villa.
Crystal Palace head coach Patrick Vieira will be looking to build on a positive first season at Selhurst Park which saw the Eagles finish 12th in the Premier League and reach the FA Cup semi-finals.
The Frenchman made a number of shrewd acquisitions to bolster his squad last summer, and he has delved into the transfer market once again ahead of the 2022-23 campaign, recruiting Cheick Doucoure, Sam Johnstone and Malcolm Ebiowei.
Vieira has had to cope with a somewhat fragmented pre-season so far this summer, with only 10 senior players travelling on the club’s pre-season tour of Australia. Several youth players were handed minutes in their most recent friendly Down Under against Man United, with the Red Devils winning 3-1 in Melbourne.
The likes of Doucoure, Wilfried Zaha, Marc Guehi, Eberechi Eze, Jeffrey Schlupp and Christian Benteke, meanwhile, have all remained in England, with some failing to meet Australia’s entry requirements while others were deemed to have had fitness issues. All of these players took part in Palace’s 3-2 friendly win over Gillingham on Tuesday, with Zaha (2) and Benteke on the scoresheet.
Palace, who have failed to win each of their last three competitive fixtures against Leeds, will return home after their game with the Whites for encounters with Queens Park Rangers and Montpellier, before facing Arsenal in their Premier League opener on August 5.
After avoiding relegation from the Premier League on the final day of last season, Jesse Marsch has since overseen a busy summer transfer window at Elland Road.
Supporters will understandably be disappointed to have seen both Kalvin Phillips and Raphinha leave the club, but the West Yorkshire outfit have responded by recruiting seven new signings, with Brenden Aaronson, Rasmus Kristensen, Marc Roca, Tyler Adams, Luis Sinisterra, Darko Gyabi and Sonny Perkins all arriving on permanent deals.
Marsch, who is preparing for his first full season at the helm, saw his side begin pre-season with a comfortable 4-0 win over Blackpool, before beating Brisbane Roar 2-1 Down Under last week.
Their most recent friendly, however, ended in defeat as they suffered a slender 1-0 loss to Aston Villa in Queensland on Sunday.
Leeds, who have only lost two of their last 12 meetings against Crystal Palace, will face the Eagles in their final match in Australia, before taking on Italian outfit Cagliari on home soil at the end of the month. Marsch will then have six days to prepare his side for their Premier League opener at home to Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Crystal Palace boss Vieira will be keen to hand the 10 first-team players within his pre-season squad more minutes on Friday, while a number of youngsters could also be given another chance to impress.
Goalkeeper Vicente Guaita and forward Odsonne Edouard were both unused substitutes against Man United, but the pair could start on this occasion at the expense of Jack Butland and Ebiowei.
Joel Ward, who scored against the Red Devils, may feature at centre-back again alongside Joachim Andersen, while the likes of Tyrick Mitchell, Luka Milivojevic, Jordan Ayew and Jean-Philippe Mateta are all expected to play in Perth.
As for Leeds, Aaronson, Kristensen, Roca, Adams and Sinisterra all featured against Villa, and Marsch will look to integrate his new signings into the first-team once again on Friday.
Junior Firpo could miss the first month of the new season after picking up an injury against Blackpool earlier this month, and with Stuart Dallas also ruled out long-term, Leif Davis is expected to continue at left-back.
The likes of Patrick Bamford, Daniel James, Jack Harrison, Illan Meslier and 16-year-old Archie Gray could all feature again, while Gyabi, Joe Gelhardt and Sam Greenwood – who were all unused substitutes last time out – will be hoping to force their way into the side against Palace.
Crystal Palace possible starting lineup:
Guaita; Clyne, Andersen, Ward, Mitchell; Rak-Sakyi, Milivojevic, Phillips; J. Ayew, Mateta, Edouard
Leeds United possible starting lineup:
Meslier; Kristensen, Koch, Llorente, Davis; Adams, Roca, Aaronson; James, Bamford, Harrison