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Match Preview: Miller Time!

Before we jet off to France there is the small matter of taking on Championship side Rotherham this Saturday afternoon, with over four thousand Sunderland supporters expected to be in attendance.

Jo Caird/Getty Images

Kick Off: 15:00pm, 23rd July 2016
Venue: AESSEAL New York Stadium, Rotherham, South Yorkshire
Last Season: N/A

Since Wednesday's game against Hartlepool we've seen the continuation of the Sam Allardyce saga almost reach an end game, with the announcement of his departure expected to come at some point today.

So, with that in mind, it's quite likely that David Moyes will be confirmed as his replacement before tomorrow's friendly in South Yorkshire against Rotherham United.

And, to be honest, I'm relieved. This has gone on much longer than anyone could possibly have wanted it to and at least we can begin to look forward. Sunderland need to grow this season and as great as Sam Allardyce has been for us we cannot let this hold us back.

The Millers should provide strong competition for our lads tomorrow, which is needed in order to test our fitness levels. The Hartlepool game - in the first half especially - was nothing more than a training exercise and in Rotherham we face a Championship side with a new manager, our old nemesis Alan Stubbs.

Small note - Sunderland supporters are expected to break the attendance record for away fans at the New York Stadium, with over 4000 of us expected to be in attendance. It should be good fun.

Team News

The Sunderland team that started the game on Wednesday will more than likely take to the field tomorrow - Vito Mannone in goal; Patrick Van Aanholt, Lamine Kone, Younes Kaboul and Billy Jones at the back; Jack Rodwell and Lee Cattermole in the middle; an attacking trio of Jeremain Lens, Fabio Borini and Wahbi Khazri and Jermain Defoe up front on his own.

Jan Kirchhoff didn't feature at Hartlepool due to a knock he picked up in training, so it remains to be seen whether or not he gets some vital game time tomorrow.

Rotherham had to cancel a game with Grimsby last week due to a minor injury crisis, so what kind of team the Yorkshiremen field tomorrow is anyone's guess. The Millers were beaten 3-1 by Tottenham Hotspur on Thursday in a behind closed doors game in Enfield.

New signing Jake Forster-Caskey is expected to feature following his loan move from Brighton & Hove Albion.

Defoe's Crack

Well, since we don't really have a manager (well, we sort of do, but we don't, but....) Jermain Defoe has given some thoughts to SAFC.com ahead of tomorrow's game in South Yorkshire:

I want to score in every game I play because that is the kind of form I want to take into the season.

Confidence is a big part of football and if you can have a good pre-season it helps, and the same can be said about winning games so we have to do that again when we face Rotherham on Saturday.

A winning mentality and winning momentum is key heading into the first game of the season.

Hitting The Road

I feel like I've been banging this drum for years now, but finally Sunderland have joined us in the digital age and are now providing a free match coverage service for all of our pre-season games throughout the summer, the first of which came on Wednesday night at Victoria Park when Kevin Ball joined Simon Crabtree in the commentary box.

Tomorrow's match will be LIVE on SAFC.com from the New York Stadium, with former Rotherham and Sunderland striker Michael Proctor backing up Crabbers to take us through the afternoon.

Gav's Prediction

I was amazed with how fit and sharp we looked on Wednesday, mainly because we never seem to breeze through a pre-season game like that. Clearly this year the players have returned much fitter and sharper than they usually do and I feel that is perhaps the best thing that Sam Allardyce could have possibly left behind for the new manager.

Hopefully we'll have David Moyes in the stands taking in the game and that will encourage the players to impress their new manager, so I'm going for a 4-1 Sunderland win, with Jermain Defoe notching another couple.