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Match Preview: Sunderland On Tour #1 - Stade Nyonnais

Who are our opponents tonight? Well, erm... Stade Nyonnais, of course!

Lynne Cameron/Getty Images

Kick Off: 18:30 GMT
Venue: Stade Camille-Fournier, Évian-les-Bains
Watch: SAFC.com/live - Commentary from Simon Crabtree & Kevin Ball
Last Season: N/A

Easing David Moyes into life as Sunderland manager is a game tonight in Lake Geneva against Swiss minnows Stade Nyonnais.

Moyes' hope will be that things get off to a good start over in France, especially following yesterday's news that the plane the team were travelling on had to make an emergency landing in Manchester due to an engine failure. It wasn't exactly an ideal start to our trip, put it that way.

Today's opponents have faced off against quality opposition already this summer due to circumstance, more than anything - they are located right next to the infamous Lake Geneva base that Sunderland find themselves at this week and, as a result, they've played games against Burnley and Sporting Lisbon in the past fortnight or so.

They may have lost both matches 3-1 but they were competitive in each tie, and tonight's run out should not be viewed as a walk in the park by Sunderland's players - though of course the main focus of any pre-season game is on fitness.

Sunderland have remained pretty much full-strength from the beginning of each of our last two games, and with tougher ties ahead it is more than likely that David Moyes will field a team of youngsters and players that didn't get a kick at the weekend.

For everyone though this is a chance to impress the new manager, and that includes the the likes of Lynden Gooch, Rees Greenwood, George Honeyman, Tom Robson, Ethan Robson and Charles N'Zogbia, who impressed with his performance on Saturday.

Moyes is going to need to work out his thoughts on his players pretty quickly as, with just over two weeks until the season begins, we have no new signings in and a pretty weak squad outside of our strongest eleven. Tonight represents a huge opportunity for the fringe players in our squad to prove whether or not they are worth keeping around next season - and with that in mind, I'm really looking forward to watching it.

Team News

Lee Cattermole, Jan Kirchhoff and Billy Jones all missed Saturday's game at Rotherham but come back into contention tonight in France. That said, Kirchhoff trained alone today, so he could be a doubt.

Having taken part in the European Championships this summer, John O'Shea and Seb Larsson have joined the squad on their trip and may well take part in today's match.

Tonight's team is expected to be a mix of the aforementioned players, plus alot of Sunderland's youngsters that have yet to see out a full ninety minutes in our opening two matches.

Bracewell's Crack

With David Moyes adjusting to his start as Sunderland manager it was Paul Bracewell that was given the job of speaking to SAFC.com ahead of tonight's game, and he gave us a good idea of which players should feature:

It was a very hot on Saturday and we started fairly slowly but I thought we grew into the game. Most of the lads got close to 90 minutes but we managed to get everyone through, and we have three tough games coming up in France.

The younger lads featured again and most of them will be involved on Monday while the other lads recover, so it is another good chance for them to show what they can do in front of the new boss.

I know David well and I’ve met him in the past so I’m delighted he’s come in. He will want to get his teeth into it straight away and he’s had a chance to look at most of the players. We also have John and Seb meeting up with us in France, and Billy, Catts and Jan will also be available so we will have a full squad there.

Gav's Prediction

I'm expecting Sunderland to control the game from start to finish and for some of our youngsters to step up and prove why they should be a part of David Moyes' squad. We've not especially struggled to score goals thus far in pre-season so I'm expecting more of the same tonight - I'm going for a 4-0 win with Duncan Watmore bagging a couple of them.