The demanding festive period is set to continue this weekend as Sunderland welcome Shrewsbury Town to the Stadium of Light.
Bidding to make it four straight league wins at home in a row, Sunderland entertain Sam Ricketts’ side on Wearside this Saturday, kick-off 3pm.
Having experienced a Boxing Day to savour, – where the Black Cats played out a 1-0 win over Bradford City in front 46,039 fans – the task now facing Jack Ross’ side is to replicate that display and end result.
While the three points were ultimately the toast of Wearside on Boxing Day night, the seismic attendance sent shockwaves across the nation as Sunderland set a new EFL record attendance for the season, eclipsing Aston Villa’s 42k set against Birmingham City.
More than that, it was the third highest attended match in the UK that day as the Black Cats attracted more than Tottenham Hotspur did at Wembley for their Premier League clash with AFC Bournemouth.
But most importantly of all, it was a sign. A sign of where this club is at. A sign of the mood around the club, the city and entire fanbase.
The challenge now facing Ross and his players, is very simple – keep winning.
Luke O’Nien received another toast across Wearside over the festive period for his displays against Portsmouth and Bradford.
Putting in two stellar showings as he filled in at right-back for the absent Adam Matthews, O’Nien will be itching to face Shrewsbury as it was against them he scored his first goal for Sunderland earlier this season.
That day, the Lads ran out 2-0 winners as Omar Beckles netted a own early in the second period to give Sunderland the lead in Shropshire.
Shrewsbury, meanwhile, head into Saturday’s match on the back of a defeat at Accrington Stanley on Boxing Day.
Lying 18th in the table, Ricketts' side have managed just one win in their previous four matches as they prepare to face a club they’re yet to beat in their entire history.
Sunderland have won eight of the 10 meetings, with the last draw being recorded in September 1988.
PERIOD OF SILENCE
Ahead of kick-off at the Stadium of Light, Sunderland AFC will continue its long-standing tradition of observing a period of silence at the last home game of the calendar year, in memory of supporters, former players and club officials who have passed away.
The silence also gives us the opportunity to collectively remember loyal supporters who have passed in 2018. They and their families will be in our thoughts.
Supporters are kindly asked to take their seats early to ensure that the silence can be observed in the appropriate manner.
DON’T MISS A KICK
Tickets for the game are available online by clicking here.
SAFSee passes are available now for overseas supporters, including seasonal and match-by-match options.
BBC Radio Newcastle’s Nick Barnes will be broadcasting live right here on safc.com from 2pm.
As ever, there will be comprehensive coverage across our digital channels including safc.com’s matchday blog and live updates on Twitter via @SunderlandAFC.