JORDAN Henderson will face his former team-mates on the opening day of the season, as Sunderland get their 2011/12 campaign underway at Liverpool.
The England Under-21 star, subject of a £19.25m transfer between the two clubs this month, will be the focus of attention when the season starts on Saturday, August 13.
But most Black Cats fans will be forgiven for already having one eye on the following week’s fixture – Sunderland’s derby game against Newcastle United will be their first home game of the season.
The games are pencilled in for the first two Saturdays of the season, but both of the attractive fixtures have every chance of being switched to suit satellite TV schedules.
It is an opening month of contrasts, with the final game of August being an away trip to newly-promoted Swansea City.
And Sunderland will be grateful of that fixture as an obvious opportunity to pick up points in what is a tough start to the season – Liverpool, Newcastle and Champions League Chelsea being opponents in three of the first four fixtures.
The away derby with Newcastle is schedule for March 3 while Darren Bent’s return to Sunderland with Aston Villa is on October 29.
Newcastle kick-off the season at home to Arsenal.
SAFC 2011-12 fixtures:
August: 13 Liverpool (A); 20 Newcastle (H); 27 Swansea (A)
September: 10 Chelsea (H); 17 Stoke (H); 24 Norwich (A)
October: 1 West Brom (H); 15 Arsenal (A); 22 Bolton (A); 29 Aston Villa (H)
November: 5 Man Utd (A); 19 Fulham (H); 26 Wigan (H)
December: 3 Wolves (A); 10 Blackburn (H); 17 Tottenham (A); 20 QPR (A); 26 Everton (H); 31 Man City (H)
January: 2 Wigan (A); 14 Chelsea (A); 21 Swansea (H); 31 Norwich (H)
February: 4 Stoke (A); 11 Arsenal (H); 25 West Brom (A)
March: 3 Newcastle (A); 10 Liverpool (H); 17 Blackburn (A); 24 QPR (H); 31 Man City (A)
April: 7 Tottenham (H); 9 Everton (A); 14 Wolverhampton (H); 21 Aston Villa (A); 28 Bolton (H)
May: 5 Fulham (A); 13 Man Utd (H)
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