The story of the day as Aiden McGeady's brace fires Sunderland to encouraging pre-season win at Hearts
Sunderland continued their pre-season preparations with a friendly at Hearts this weekend.
After a draw at Spennymoor Town a fortnight ago, followed by two behind closed doors fixtures against local opponents last weekend, the Black Cats headed to Tynecastle ready for a step-up in opposition.
Lee Johnson’s side have been based in Edinburgh for the majority of the week as part of a pre-season training camp and will hope to end a fruitful week with victory against the Scottish Premiership side.
The game could saw summer signings Corry Evans and Callum Doyle handed their debuts – while Aiden McGeady featured for the first time since penning fresh contracts.
A number of the club’s promising youngsters were also be involved.
Phil Smith and Mark Donnelly were at the game for The Echo, bringing you build-up, team news, match coverage, analysis, insight, reaction and more from the pre-season fixture – which you can relive here.
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FT: Hearts 0-2 Sunderland AFC (McGeady 15, 42)
Last updated: Saturday, 17 July, 2021, 14:43
- Sunderland travel to Tynecastle in their second public pre-season friendly.
- Lee Johnson is again set to experiment with his squad ahead of the new League One season.
- SAFC XI: Patterson, Winchester, Doyle, Flanagan, Dyce, Neil, Embleton, McGeady, Gooch, O’Brien, Stewart
And welcome to our live blog!
We’re on the road north as Sunderland travel to face Hearts this afternoon.
It’s the second time the Black Cats have played in public this summer and could be the first glimpse we get of the club’s trio of summer additions thus far.
I’m Mark Donnelly and, along with our chief football writer Phil Smith, I’ll be taking you through proceedings this afternoon.
So, let’s get started shall we?
Can I stream Hearts v Sunderland AFC?
Sunderland have confirmed that they will offer a streaming service priced at £5 for season ticket holders and £10 for others.
The club also added that 2021-22 season card holders will be contacted via email at 9am on Friday with further details on how to purchase at the discounted rate.
Sunderland fans can stream the game on safc.com
Here’s what Sunderland should expect from Hearts today
We caught-up with Joel Sked of the Edinburgh Evening News to get the inside track on today’s opponents...
Sunderland have been training in Scotland all week - along with some youngsters
The camp began on Tuesday and among those to travel with the senior group were Jacob Carney, Sam Wilding, Kenton Richardson and Tyrese Dyce.
All four will be in the frame to play some role in the clash against Hearts, and the latter duo could well feature given the lack of other options in the full-back areas at present.
That quartet of youngsters were all absent for Sunderland’s under-23 friendly with Consett earlier this week – in which the likes of Patrick Almond, Stephen Wearne and Harrison Sohna all featured.
Speaking about the training camp earlier this week, head coach Johnson said: “It gives us an opportunity to have five or six days of intense work.
“Some are ahead of others in terms of their fitness, but we have to strike that balance between peaking them as early as possible and not injuring them.”
Who will be in the Sunderland team against Hearts?
Lee Johnson is again set to rotate his side to give players minutes at Tynecastle.
Alex Pritchard will miss out after testing positive for COVID-19, while the game will still come too soon for Arbenit Xhemajli.
But we could see fellow new signings Corry Evans and Callum Doyle all involved - as well as Aiden McGeady and Luke O’Nien, who have both signed new contracts.
Elsewhere it could be another chance for the likes of Ellis Taylor to shine.
Predicted squad to travel to Tynecastle: Burge, Patterson, Carney, Wright, Flanagan,, Younger, Doyle, Dyce, Richardson, O’Nien, Winchester, Neil, Wilding, Embleton, Evans, McGeady, Diamond, Gooch, O’Brien, Stewart, Grigg, Taylor, Hawkes
Lee Johnson confirms that Anthony Patterson will start today
The Sunderland youngster will start between the sticks today, with the head coach also confirming that a host of youngsters will get their opportunity to shine this afternoon.
There’s a couple of young lads playing in the game. Patto will start in goal and he’s a player that we truly believe in as well.
Some key things to look out for today...
Here’s the Hearts view ahead of today’s game...
This will be another good test for us ahead of our league opener against Celtic in a few weeks’ time.
Sunderland are big club down in England with some talented players so it’ll be a great run out for our squad.
It’s also another chance for our players to familairise themselves with the Tynecastle crowd as some of them have yet to experience it, so I hope we can get as many Hearts fans through the turnstiles as possible.
Our team are in place at Tynecastle!
Let us know your thoughts...
The Sunderland squad are here!
And it’s pretty much as expected in terms of personnel - with no Alex Pritchard given his positive COVID-19 test.
New signings Corry Evans and Callum Doyle are here, along with youngsters such as Tyrese Dyce and Oliver Younger.
Will Grigg has also travelled, while Arbenit Xhemajli is here - but unlikely to play any part.
BREAKING: THE TEAM NEWS IS IN!
And here’s how Sunderland line-up for the friendly at Hearts: Patterson, Winchester, Doyle, Flanagan, Dyce, Neil, Embleton, McGeady, Gooch, O’Brien, Stewart
And on the bench: Burge, Grigg, Taylor, Richardson, Evans, Diamond, Younger, Wilding
It could be a 4-4-2 or a 4-2-3-1 for the Black Cats, but whatever the formation it looks like Carl Winchester is at right-back.
There’s a debut for Callum Doyle, with Corry Evans on the bench.
No place for Bailey Wright, Luke O’Nien or Alex Pritchard.
And here’s how Hearts line-up...
Confusingly, their goalkeeper is also called Ross Stewart!
Sunderland are out to warm-up!
Not that they need it today, the sun is beaming down on Tynecastle and it’s a lovely day!
Luke O’Nien - who isn’t named in the squad today - is involved in the early parts of the warm-up.
Not long to go now...
And Sunderland are going through the final stages of their warm-up.
As expected, the side are preparing in a back four with Carl Winchester on the right-hand side.