Sunderland boss Simon Grayson faces up to pacy ex-Preston winger in first friendly

Chris Humphrey
Chris Humphrey
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Bury boss Lee Clark will unleash pacy winger Chris Humphrey on Sunderland in tonight’s Gigg Lane friendly (7.30pm).

The League One club’s new arrivals this summer include former Preston and Motherwell winger Chris Humphrey, who played under Sunderland manager Simon Grayson at Deepdale/

Clark, who played for the Black Cats for two seasons in 1997-99, is looking forward to tonight’s clash.

“Chris Humphrey adds something different to the squad,” said the Tynesider. “He has a lot of pace and is very direct. Simon Grayson was full of praise when I spoke to him.”

It is the first pre-season game for both clubs.

“This is the start for us now,” Clark added to the Bury Times. “They have appointed a very good manager in Simon Grayson and it is exciting to welcome a huge club to Gigg Lane.”

The Shakers last night completed their pursuit of Blackpool centre-back Tom Aldred, who has penned a two-year contract.

Clark, who signed the defender for Blackpool during his reign at Bloomfield Road, said: “We’ve been working this deal for a long time and Tom was one of the first players that we spoke to.

“He’s a winner, he ticks the box in that he has won promotion. There were other clubs interested in him and we are delighted that he is with us.

“Tom comes to join us with a determination to defend. He’s strong, physical and a leader and a great communicator both on and off the pitch.

“We’ve brought in five or six of those. We have a dressing room full of leaders. We have a dressing room that doesn’t need policing by me or my staff.”

Newcastle striker Tom Heardman will also feature against Sunderland after signing a season-long loan deal, having trained with the club this week.

Clark enthused: “Tom is a young, energetic player. He is six-foot-four and will be a different asset for us. We will be able to feed on his flick-ons and knock downs but he is not just a big guy, he is very athletic and reminds me of a young Andy Carroll.”

* Hibernian, who host Sunderland in Lewis Stevenson’s testimonial at Easter Road on Sunday (2pm), last night cruised to a 4-0 victory in their first pre-season friendly.

Neil Lennon’s side outgunned hosts Dunfermline 4-0, thanks to goals from summer signing Danny Swanson, trialist Jermaine Pennant, winger Martin Boyle and Oli Shaw.