NEW signing Jordi Gomez says he is looking forward to having the passion of the home crowd at the Stadium of Light behind him rather than against him next season.
The former Wigan midfielder who, along with West Brom’s Billy Jones, agreed Bosman deals with Sunderland this week, is a big fan of the Black Cats’ fans.
And although he enjoyed his time at Wigan, he knows it will be a different experience next season playing in front of a club which averaged 41,089 fans per home game last season, compared to the Latics’ 15,691.
He said: “I have played at Sunderland before and I know what the support is like, and the way that they help their team.
“I think last season they played a big part in the good results the team got at the end of the season to stay in the Premier League.”
Gomez has played in the last four games Wigan have played against Sunderland.
He scored in a 2-1 Latics win at the Stadium of Light in November 2011 and was sent off the following season on the same ground, a 1-0 defeat in September 2012 after a studs-up challenge on Danny Rose.
Now though Gomez is thrilled to be trying to help rather than hinder Sunderland.
“I’m really happy to be here and to be joining such a big club as Sunderland,” he said.
“I am ready for this new challenge in my career.
“I was in the Premier League four years with Wigan before we got relegated, but I am delighted to be back there now.
“Gus Poyet is a very good manager and he did a very good job last year, so I am very happy to be working with him.
“He has good ideas and I like the way he wants his team to play.
“I think my style will suit that.”
H Former Sunderland U21 regular Billy Knott has joined Bradford City on a free transfer.
The 21-year-old former Chelsea youngster has agreed a two-year deal with the League One club.
He joins City after three years on Sunderland’s books which saw him make just one appearance - as a substitute in the Black Cats’ last game of the 2012-13 season against Spurs.
He has had successful loan spells at Port Vale, Wycombe, Woking Wimbledon during his time on Wearside.
Another of Sunderland’s released youngsters, Spanish midfielder Alex Gorrin, has joined New Zealand A-League outfit Wellington Phoenix.
H SUNDERLAND have confirmed that one of their pre-season friendlies this summer will be against Carlisle United on Tuesday, July 22, kick-off 7.30pm.
The Cumbrians were relegated to League Two last season and former Sunderland midfielder Graham Kavanagh, currently manager at Brunton Park, will be hoping to bounce the Blues straight back into League One.
He will be grateful for the Sunderland game as a chance to pitch Carlisle against superior opposition and also to raise revenue.
Sunderland will benefit from having very little distance to travel for one of their warm-up games while fans will be able to enjoy a friendly which is accessible and bound to be popular.
Ticket details will be released in due course.
H Sunderland Under 21’s side will take on Boston United as part of their pre-season plans.
They head to the Conference North side’s Jakemans Stadium on Saturday, July 26 for a game which kicks off at 3pm.
Ticket prices are yet to be announced.
H Freed Sunderland midfielder Billy Knott has penned a two-year contract to join League One club Bradford City. He never made the grade with the Black Cats but had loan stints at AFC Wimbledon, Woking, Wycombe and Port Vale.