Hello and welcome to a special preseason minute-by-minute to keep an eye on the action from the opening match of Manchester United’s preseason tour. Preparations for the new campaign begin against A-League outfit Perth Glory with kick-off at Optus Stadium around 7pm local time (9pm on Australia’s east coast or noon in the UK).
Not for the first time in recent years United are enduring a turbulent preseason. Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s first transfer window in the hot seat has already seen fevered speculation over the future of record signing Paul Pogba, question marks over whether Romelu Lukaku will begin the season at Old Trafford, and renewed supporter discontent with the club’s ownership. All of this unrest is magnified by a trophy cabinet that went unfurnished last season while fierce rivals Manchester City and Liverpool went from strength to strength.
In better news a couple of new faces have arrived to brighten the place up. Aaron Wan-Bissaka didn’t come cheap but should provide the dynamic right-back United have lacked since Antonio Valencia decided he no longer fancied getting to the byline while Daniel James offers searing pace. Both are expected to feature tonight along with a smattering of the club’s most promising youngsters as Solskjær remodels his inheritance.
Perth Glory may be unfamiliar to United fans but they should not be underestimated. Glory finished the most recent A-League season on top of the ladder, but lost the grand final in a penalty shootout. Their domestic success was founded on the meticulous preparation of coach (and former Crystal Palace defender) Tony Popovic and an imposing spine marshalled by former Leeds United midfielder Neil Kilkenny.
There’s a while until kick-off so if you want to get in touch with any pre-match thoughts feel free to drop me an email or send a tweet to @JPHowcroft. You can try your luck during the 90 minutes as well but best to stick to Twitter once we’re underway.