Sunderland head off to America and Canada soon to face 2014 United Soccer League champions Sacramento Republic FC, Mexican Primera side Club de Fútbol Pachuca and MLS side Toronto FC.
Sacramento FC are only into their second season of existence but were crowned champions in their debut season after defeating Harrisburg City Islanders in the play-off final – their main attacking threat comes from Rodrigo Lopez, who has notched nine goals already.
They will be match sharp and fitness should not be an issue for them but they are a third tier side in the American league system so it shouldn’t prove to be too much of a challenge for the Black Cats.
A bigger test however will come in the shape of Mexican Primera side Club de Fútbol Pachuca.
They are a side with heritage dating back to 1901 when the club was founded and have been an ever-present title contender in top flight Mexican football since their most recent promotion in 1998.
Sunderland’s biggest test, however, will be their trip to Canada to the former home of Jermain Defoe and current home of Jozy Altidore.
Of course most interest from Sunderland fans will be towards Altidore. who seems to have found his feet in American football notching six goals in 11 games this season.
But Sunderland should come away from their transatlantic trip unscathed with all three opponents playing at a lower level, with less quality, but all three will contribute to a testing pre-season.