Everything you need to know about why Sunderland will enter the FA Cup at the first round stage

Sunderland are an early riser in year's FA Cup with their journey beginning in just four weeks time...

Tuesday, 9th October 2018, 11:50 am
Updated Thursday, 11th October 2018, 9:25 am
Everything you need to know about Sunderland's early start in the FA Cup

Having not competed in the first round since 1987 - their previous season in England's third tier - Sunderland fans would not be mistaken for wanting to ask many questions surrounding the early stages of the competition.

So - here's everything you need to know about the FA Cup first round:

Why are Sunderland in the first round draw?

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The Black Cats had become used to entering at third round phase but the club's back-to-back relegations requires Jack Ross' side to join at the first round stage alongside fellow League One and Two clubs.

For Sunderland, it could be a tie against those non-league clubs who have battled through the preliminary and qualifying stages or a Football League club.

When is the draw for the first round stage?

It is not confirmed though it is believed the draw will take place on Monday, October 22, three days after the fourth round qualifying matches are played.

So far, the FA Cup draw has been drawn live on TalkSport 2, which has been well received by non-league fans across the country.

When will the first round tie be played?

The initial date is listed as Saturday, November 10.

However, given Sunderland will arguably be the most high-profile club in the first round, the fixture may be moved - if shown live on TV.

Who could Sunderland face?

The lowest ranked team left in the competition is Dunston UTS of the Ebac Northern League Division One, who face National League side Gateshead at home in a local derby.

Other North East clubs, Blyth Spartans and York City compete against each other for a place in the first round - with Blyth known for a few giant killings down the years.

Harrogate and Hartlepool also enter at the fourth round qualifying but Sunderland could face any of the 79 teams left in the competition.

How much prize money can Sunderland win?

The prize money has been doubled this season, meaning the Black Cats could pocket themselves £36,000 should they overcome their first round opponents.

How did Sunderland fair last time when they entered at the first round stage?

In 1987, Sunderland were drawn against fourth division side Darlington in the pair's only competitive meeting to date.

On that day, a Paul Atkinson double ensured Denis Smith's men avoided a shock exit at Roker Park.

Unfortunately, any hope of a surprise cup run was ended by Scunthorpe United after they dumped the Rokermen out in the second round.