Sunderland continue their pre-season campaign with a game against Rotherham United at the New York Stadium.
Sunderland played their first match of pre-season on Wednesday evening, comfortably beating Hartlepool United 3-0, with two goals coming from Jermain Defoe and one from Wahbi Khazri.
The Black Cats now turn their attention to a Rotherham side who are further forward in their preparations for their new season, which starts a week earlier than Sunderland’s Premier League campaign.
The Millers have enjoyed a successful pre-season so far, defeating Parkgate 7-0 as well as beating Miedz Legnica and drawing against Gornik Zabrze in their tour of Poland.
Saturday afternoon will be the first time Sunderland have visited the New York stadium since it was built in 2012. This will be the Black Cats’ final domestic pre-season game before trips around Europe to play various opposition.
Important to remain focused
With the news of Sam Allardyce’s appointment as England manager breaking earlier today, Sunderland will have most of their focus on replacing the 61-year-old. David Moyes is set to be the man to take the job, but Sunderland will still remain focussed on building match fitness and putting on a good show for the travelling fans.
Allardyce in charge of his last game against Hartlepool United. (Image source: The Mirror)
Both John O’shea and Sebastian Larsson are still yet to return to the squad after their Euro 2016 involvement, but January signing Jan Kirchoff is set to make his first start of pre-season, after the German was rested in Wednesday evenings game as a precaution. Sunderland will look to give their full side another run out, with the importance of building momentum and fitness clear to see.
Rotherham will include new signing and former Black Cats defender Greg Halford in Saturday’s game. The 34-year-old made just eight league appearances for the Black Cats, before departing in 2009 permanently. Rotherham boss Alan Stubbs is also a former Sunderland player.