Darlington 1883 Vs Sunderland AFC
Heritage Park-9th July-7.45 pm Kick Off
Tickets: SOLD OUT
Sunderland again open their preseason program against Martin Gray's side Darlington 1883 at Bishop Auckland's Heritage Park. Last season Sunderland brought a strong side where goals from Steven Fletcher(2), Emanuele Giaccherini, Connor Wickham and Jordi Gomez saw the lads compete a 5-1 victory with Gary Brown netting for the Quakers.
Not only is this fixture important for early steps towards fitness but it represents unity for North East football providing important funds for the Evo Stik Premier side.
Sunderland are expected to bring a strong squad made up of important seniors though some Development Squad players will also be looking to play a part. Costel Pantilimon and Jordi Gomez will miss out as both continue their recovery from knee injuries. John O'Shea, Seb Larsson, Steven Fletcher and Sebastian Coates will all be absent after being awarded extra time off due to summer international commitments. Youngster Duncan Watmore will also miss the game, not returning to training until Friday. Dick Advocaat had this to say:
"The game on Thursday is more about getting 45 minutes in the legs, so most players will probably play just the 45.
"Some players, like Giaccherini, who didn’t play last season, might play the full 90 minutes."
Darlo fans will be eager to get their first glimpse of new signings Adam Nowakowski, Rob Youhill, Jim Provett, Phil Turnbull and Kevin Burgess. Quakers boss Martin Gray had this to see about his new recruits. However, Amar Purewal and Graeme Armstrong won't feature.
"It shows how much ambition this club has when two players have dropped down to the Evo Stik League from the Conference to come and play for us," he said.
"When I spoke to Adam and Phil, they were both very keen to come. They could see how professional, passionate and ambitious a club that Darlington FC is. Phil said on our website on tuesday that Darlington is the next most professional club after Gateshead.
"They know that the club wants to keep advancing up the league system, and is very keen to win promotion this season, and that is why they were prepared to drop into the Evo Stik.
Darlington have released some important information in regards to this fixture such as access, parking and alcohol. If you're lucky enough to be able to attend please be sure to familiarise with these details here