Sunderland's League One preparations to step up as squad returns to training
The Sunderland squad will return to training next week as pre-season plans ramp up ahead of the first friendly away at Spennymoor Town.
The Black Cats are yet to make a single signing this summer with the players due back at the Academy of Light from Monday.
Having failed to win promotion to the Championship, head coach Lee Johnson and sporting director Kristjaan Speakman are overseeing a major transformation of the playing squad.
Fans are naturally eager to see new faces through the doors at the Academy of Light but they are having to be patient.
A number of senior players have also left including Grant Leadbitter, Max Power and Josh Scowen while there remains uncertainty over the future of four players who have been offered deals.
Aiden McGeady, as revealed by the Echo, is set to extend his stay while there is growing confidence Luke O'Nien will pen a new deal.
Denver Hume has also been offered fresh terms but is yet to commit, while Charlie Wyke is not expected to sign a new deal, as previously reported.
Scottish giants Celtic are among the clubs chasing him, with strong interest from several Championship clubs as well.
Sunderland start their preparations in terms of games on Saturday July 3, with a trip to Spennymoor (KO 3pm).
It is likely a number of younger players will be involved in the game with experienced first team options currently limited for Johnson given the lack of signings to date.
Earlier this week it was confirmed Harrogate Town have become Sunderland’s third confirmed pre-season opponents.
The League Two side have announced that they will welcome Johnson’s side on Saturday July 24th, with kick off at 3pm.
So far Sunderland have announced a trip to Spennymoor Town on July 3rd and a trip to York City on Wednesday July 21st, kicking off at 7pm.
Ticket details are yet to be confirmed for that trip to York, while Spennymoor have confirmed that they will only be able to accommodate a limited number of home supporters.
Further fixtures are expected to be announced as Johnson’s side prepare for another League One promotion push.