Leeds United: New trio of players set for debuts against Gherdeina

Marco Silvestri.
Marco Silvestri.
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Leeds United will begin their pre-season schedule against amateur Italian side Gherdeina tonight with three new players likely to make their first appearances for the club.

Goalkeeper Marco Silvestri is set to feature in this evening’s friendly after Leeds confirmed his signing for an undisclosed fee from Serie A club Chievo yesterday.

The 23-year-old, who finished last season on loan at Cagliari, agreed a four-year deal with United and has been training with David Hockaday’s squad in preparation for tonight’s match.

Fellow keeper Stuart Taylor – recruited on a free transfer from Reading last week – is expected to play for 45 minutes while third new signing Tomasso Bianchi, the midfielder signed on a three-year deal from Sassuolo, is likely to figure too.

Hockaday spoke highly of Silvestri, saying: “Everybody in Italy believes Marco is destined for very big things. We’re delighted to welcome him to Leeds.

“He has been training with us for a week now and he has impressed everybody.”

United’s summer signings could increase to four in the days ahead with Catania striker Souleymane Doukara close to a deal with the Elland Road club.

Former Arsenal and Celtic left-back Andre Blackman is also in line to formally join Leeds having trained with the squad in Italy during the past week.

The 23-year-old is available on a free transfer having finished last season at non-league Maidenhead and he has been a target of United owner Massimo Cellino since the early stages of the summer.

Tonight’s fixture in Val Gardena (kick-off 5.30pm) is the first of two arranged for Leeds’ Italian tour.

Hockaday’s squad will meet Romanian top-flight team Viitorul Constanta – a club owned by the legendary Gheorghe Hagi – on Sunday, prior to their return to England next week.

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