Sunderland’s pre-season will ramp up a notch this evening when they head to South Shields for the first of five friendlies.
Kicking off at 7:30pm at Mariners Park, Jack Ross’ men will get their first minutes in the tank since the League One Play-Off Final at Wembley in May.
With all tickets – both home and away – snapped up, the Black Cats will don their brand new adidas 2019-20 home kit for the first time.
After returning to training last Tuesday, the Lads have endured a fitness-fuelled schedule which has included double sessions on a daily basis.
But with many hard yards still to be done ahead of their season opener against Oxford United on 3 August, Ross will be looking to gauge where his current squad are at over the coming days which sees them play two friendlies in three days before jetting off to Portugal next Wednesday.
New signings Lee Burge and Conor McLaughlin will get their first taste of life in red and white tonight as Ross looks to field two different sides in either half.
A plethora of youngsters are also likely to feature too, with the Scot stating earlier this week it’s up to them to stake their claim ahead of the new season.
Two players who definitely won’t be involved this evening are Aiden McGeady and Max Power. McGeady remains out with a fractured foot while Power is still nursing an ankle injury sustained in the opening minutes of the Play-Off Final at Wembley.
Tonight’s hosts, Shields, are also getting their pre-season campaign underway ahead of their second season in the Northern Premier League.
Losing out on promotion in the Play-Off Final to Warrington Town, Lee Picton and Graham Fenton’s side will take heart from their impressive home form last term which saw them amass 48 points in 20 games to see them finish second.
Top scorer Robert Briggs, who netted 20 times last season, will be keen to hit the ground running once again and so too will Lee Mason after his haul of 13 goals.
DON’T MISS A KICK
A sell-out crowd of more than 3,000 will see the Lads take on Shields this evening. There will be no further ticket sales at Mariners Park and turnstiles will open at 5:30pm.
Full coverage will be available on the club’s social media channels - @SunderlandAFC.
Highlights will be available shortly after the full-time whistle. Tonight’s game will not be streamed live on SAFSEE.