Hibs set up friendly with Dutch side as status of Watford game is confirmed
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Hibs have added a friendly against Dutch side Groningen as part of their pre-season preparations. The Trots van het Noorden suffered relegation from the Eredivisie at the end of 2022/23 and will play their football in the Netherlands’ second tier next season but before the start of the 2023/24 Eerste Divisie campaign, Dick Lukkien’s side will visit Edinburgh to take on Hibs at Easter Road on Friday July 21 with a 7.15pm kick-off – a week before Lee Johnson’s side take on either Víkingur Gøta or Inter Club d’Escaldes in the second qualifying round of the Europa Conference League. Fans with season tickets will be granted free entry.
Groningen recently signed Kevin van Veen from Motherwell and the former Fir Park striker could line up against Hibs next month. The last 20 years has seen the blossoming of an unofficial link between the two clubs with fans of the Dutch side regularly attending matches at Easter Road.
Hibs have met Dutch opposition in friendly encounters in years gone by. A four-game tour of the Netherlands ahead of the 2010/11 season produced defeats by Heracles Almelo and ADO Den Haag, a draw with Vitesse Arnhem, and a win against NEC Nijmegen. In July 2012 they defeated a Zealand Select XI in pre-season and more recently, under Jack Ross, they defeated Willem II 2-1 during a winter break friendly.
Hibs chief executive Ben Kensell said: “With the planned friendly against Watford now taking place next summer, we were keen to organise a high-quality match to aid preparations ahead of the new campaign. We reached out to Groningen understanding the pre-existing relationship between the two clubs and supporters. We hope to see as many people at Easter Road for the game as possible.”
The visit of Groningen completes Hibs’ first-team pre-season schedule. They will make the very short trip to face Edinburgh at Meadowbank on Saturday July 1, before taking on Europa FC of Gibraltar and English Premier League side Bournemouth during the summer training camp in Marbella on July 8 and 13 respectively. They will then host Groningen before a trip to face Blackpool at Bloomfield Road in between the first and second legs of the Europa Conference League second qualifying round tie.