The story of the day as Sunderland's youthful squad draw at Spennymoor Town in pre-season opener
Sunderland head to Spennymoor Town this afternoon in their first pre-season friendly of the summer.
The Black Cats haven’t taken to the field since the second leg of their play-off semi-final against Lincoln City, but will today face the National League North side as their preparations for the 2021/22 begin.
Lee Johnson is likely to use the game – which is being played in three 30 minute segments – to experiment with his squad, while a number of under-23 players are set to be involved given Sunderland’s limited senior numbers at present.
Over 1,000 fans will be at the Brewery Field for the clash, which will be followed by trips to York City, Harrogate Town and Tranmere Rovers in the coming weeks.
Phil Smith and Mark Donnelly will be at the game for the Echo, bringing you the latest team news, match analysis and a stream of updates throughout the afternoon.
FT: Spennymoor Town 2-2 Sunderland (Tait 48, Kennedy 52; O’Brien 27, Taylor 68)
Last updated: Saturday, 03 July, 2021, 14:59
- Sunderland travel to Spennymoor Town in their first pre-season friendly (3pm kick-off)
- The game will be played in three 30 minute periods
- Lee Johnson is set to hand opportunities to a number of young players as the Black Cats kick-off their 2021/22 season at the Brewery Field
And welcome to our live blog!
Football is BACK for Sunderland AFC, who play their first game of the 2021/22 season at Spennymoor Town this afternoon.
Looking to bounce back from play-off disappointment this campaign, the Black Cats will no doubt be keen to start pre-season on a positive note against the National League North side.
Kick-off at the Brewery Field is 3pm, and we’re sure this is the only game people will be talking about today...
I’m Mark Donnelly and, along with Phil Smith, I’ll be bringing you the latest from the clash throughout the day...
Here’s everything you need to know ahead of today’s game....
The Brewery Field, Spennymoor
ARE THERE ANY TICKETS?
No. Tickets for the game were only available for Spennymoor Town season ticket holders and academy players.
A reminder about how today’s match will run...
Sunderland have confirmed that their pre-season friendly at Spennymoor Town will be played in three periods.
As opposed to a traditional match day structure, the Black Cats will take on the National League North side in three 30 minute intervals during the training game.
We’re expecting a number of personnel changes to be made at the end of each 30 minute period.
Who will be involved for Sunderland today?
Sunderland will certainly be without Jordan Willis for the clash, while the game may also come too soon for Arbenit Xhemajli as he steps-up his injury return.
Aiden McGeady could feature after penning a new contract earlier this week, while Lee Johnson is also likely to call upon the services of some under-23 players for the trip to Spennymoor.
Our man Phil Smith has taken a look at the players who could be set for a big opportunity this afternoon:
Players potentially available for Sunderland AFC: Lee Burge, Anthony Patterson, Jacob Carney, Kenton Richardson, Bailey Wright, Tom Flanagan, Oliver Younger, Cieran Dunne, Sam Wilding, Tyrese Dyce, Patrick Almond, Carl Winchester, Dan Neil, Lynden Gooch, Elliot Embleton, Jack Diamond, Aiden McGeady, Aiden O’Brien, Ross Stewart, Will Grigg, Josh Hawkes, Stephen Wearne, Ellis Taylor
Sunderland’s first summer signing could feature today
Manchester United goalkeeper Jacob Carney joined the Black Cats on a two-year deal on Friday - and could be involved today.
It’s understood that the stopper has been training with the club this week and could play some part at Spennymoor.
Carney is the club’s first senior signing of the summer, with sporting director Kristjaan Speakman confirming that the youngster will initially work alongside Lee Burge and Anthony Patterson.
He is a technically-gifted goalkeeper and we believe that with the right development programme across our football operation, including exposure to the first-team environment, he has the potential to have really successful career at Sunderland AFC
Is there a live stream for Spennymoor Town v Sunderland AFC?
Neither club will be providing a live stream for the clash – although Spennymoor have confirmed that audio commentary will be available on ‘Durham On Air’ radio.
Could some of Sunderland’s latest U23 signings play today?
Sunderland announced the additions of Tom Scott, Ethan Kachosa, Tyrese Dyce, Cameron Jessup, Nathan Newall and Harrison Sohna earlier this week.
And some of the six new signings may well be involved today given the Black Cats’ lack of numbers at present.
We should find out team news at around 2pm.
Our team are in place at Spennymoor Town!
Will Grigg is also here today, as speculation over his future continues.
BREAKING: THE TEAM NEWS IS IN!
And here’s how Sunderland line-up at Spennymoor Town for the first 30 minute period: Burge, Gooch, Diamond, Winchester, Wright, Flanagan, Neil, Embleton, Grigg, Stewart, O’Brien
And on the bench: Patterson, Kachosa, Almond, Jessup, Dyce, Wilding, Wearne, Sohna, Taylor, Harris, Hawkes, Dunne, Newall, Scott
It looks to be a 4-3-3 for Sunderland, with Diamond and Gooch at full-back and a front three of Grigg, Stewart and O’Brien.
So who is missing today?
As expected, there’s no involvement for Charlie Wyke, Luke O’Nien and Denver Hume - all of whom are weighing-up their futures.
Aiden McGeady also isn’t involved after signing fresh terms earlier this week.
Sunderland are out to warm-up
And it’s just the ten starting outfield players, both goalkeepers plus Sam Wilding, Josh Hawkes and Ellis Taylor out to warm-up at present.
Not long to go now...
And the rain is teeming down here at the Brewery Field!
Sunderland - who are expected to wear last season’s away kit for today’s training exercise - are just going through the final stages of their preparations.
Here’s why Oliver Younger misses out today...
Aiden McGeady, meanwhile, has a private engagement - and was unlikely to feature regardless given he only returned to training late this week.
Josh Hawkes has just left the Sunderland warm-up
As Sunderland head into the final stages of their warm-up, Josh Hawkes leaves the field alongside the club’s medical staff.
Hopefully it’s nothing too serious.
Sunderland are warming-up as a back three...
With Winchester, Wright and Flanagan as the three central midfielders.
Embleton and Neil are preparing as a pair, so could we see a 3-4-3 shape from the Black Cats today?