Bulk-buying West Ham and Newcastle are both in action in New Zealand in the early hours of Saturday morning...
"Newcastle's friendly schedule started underwhelmingly with a 1-2 loss to Oldham before picking up with a 4-0 breeze past Sydney in which newbies Riviere and de Jong both struck."
Sydney v West Ham
Live on BT Sport 1
Match Odds: Sydney 4.57/2, West Ham 1.695/7, The Draw 4.03/1
Any attempt to interact with fans should be applauded, but West Ham co-chairman David Sullivan's Twitter Q&A on Thursday unintentionally crushed of the positivity generated by a transfer campaign in which the likes of Mauro Zarate and (pending a work permit) Enner Valencia have arrived.
The outspoken figurehead of the 2.942/1 top-half hopefuls admitted that Ravel Morrison's future is uncertain and that best player Winston Reid had turned down their latest contract offer, before signing off with confirmation of Andy Carroll's latest four-month injury absence.
Pre-season hasn't exactly been a barrel of laughs either, starting with draws against Stevenage and Ipswich before a defeat to Wellington Phoenix to kick off their New Zealand tour. Sydney may be the best team that they have faced yet, so another lay at 1.75/7 appears to be the way to go.
Wellington v Newcastle
Live on BT Sport 1
Newcastle's summer is adopting a similar shape to West Ham's, with transfer ambition accompanied by a trip to New Zealand to tackle Sydney and Wellington, before both head to Gelsenkirchen. Their fortunes are even entwined, with Carroll's torn ankle ligaments ending rumours of a return to St James' Park.
The Magpies won't be distraught though having already acquired Daryl Janmaat, Jack Colback, Siem de Jong, Remy Cabella, Ayoze Perez and Emmanuel Riviere, with links to the likes of Juventus wing back Mauricio Isla indicating that there is more to come. They are 13.5 to replicate 2011/12's top-six finish.
Their friendly schedule started underwhelmingly with a 1-2 loss to Oldham before picking up with a 4-0 breeze past Sydney in which newbies Riviere and de Jong both struck, and they are around 2.26/5 to deliver over 3.5 goals once more against Wellington.