SUNDERLAND will face neighbours Hartlepool United in a pre-season testimonial game for Poolie stalwart Ritchie Humphreys.
The Black Cats will make the trip to Victoria Park on Tuesday, August 2 (kick-off 7.30pm) – 10 days before the start of the Premier League campaign.
It will be the highlight of the testimonial year for ex-Sheffield Wednesday man Humphreys, who became Pools’ all-time leading appearance maker this season.
Sunderland boss Steve Bruce said: “Ritchie has been a fantastic servant for Hartlepool.
“To achieve what he has at one club in the modern game is absolutely terrific.
“He has set a great example to his fellow professionals and we are delighted to be able to honour his career by taking part in his testimonial.
“It promises to be a great evening and I’d urge as many fans as possible to come along and show their support.”
The game is the seventh pre-season outing confirmed by Sunderland with Bruce’s men facing three games during a tour of Germany along with friendlies against Burnley, York and SPL outfit Hibernian.
Sunderland are also hopeful of arranging another game north of the border.
Humphreys, 33, believes the game will prove the perfect pre-season preparation for both sides with Pools beginning their League One campaign four days later.
“Sunderland had a tremendous start the season and while they didn’t perhaps do as well as they would have liked, they finished OK,” said Humphreys.
“Tenth place in the Premier League is a good position.
“I’ve read reports in the press that Steve Bruce wants to strengthen his squad so hopefully he’ll have one or two new signing on board for when they come to the Vic.
“From our perspective, it will be nice to pit our wits against a Premier League club.
“We’ve played higher league opposition in both the FA and League cups in recent seasons and it’s going to be good to do so again.
“I think everyone is looking forward to it – players and fans.
“I’m thrilled about the game and for the lads it’s a great match before the season starts.
“It’s going to be a great occasion for me and my family, but I think it’s one the fans of both teams will enjoy as well.”
Ticket information for Sunderland fans will be confirmed in due course.