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Match Preview: SAFC As Keen As Mustard Ahead Of Dijon Test

Excuse the terrible pun.

Lynne Cameron/Getty Images

Kick Off: 17:00 GMT
Venue: Stade Camille-Fournier, Évian-les-Bains
Watch: - Commentary from Simon Crabtree 
Last Season: N/A

Sunderland's sternest test thus far in pre-season comes this evening from Dijon FCO, who have returned back to the French top flight this term after four years in the second tier. Rather interestingly, it was former Sunderland defender Patrice Carteron who was in charge when Dijon last played in Ligue 1 - our links to their club don't come much more tenuous than that.

Jan Kirchhoff has yet to kick a ball yet this pre-season, and if he doesn't play some part tonight it will be somewhat concerning. The hope going into this trip to France was that Kirchhoff would play at least some part in the first game against Stade Nyonnais but he sat it out, with the German midfielder apparently nursing a knock which is preventing him from getting vital match fitness.

The best thing to take from our opening three pre-season games is that we have won all of them, and have scored plenty of goals. Obviously, you shouldn't read too much into your pre-season form, but it's encouraging that the players are enjoying a more successful period than they usually do in our preparation for the start of the Premier League - you don't have to go back too far to remember just how bad we were on our tour of North America last year, a series of games which set us up for an absolutely terrible season in the top flight.

Much like on Monday, this is a chance for Sunderland's players to impress their new manager and the team we see today is expected to be much changed to the one that played from the start against Stade Nyonnais.

Team News

Having fielded a side comprised mainly of youngsters on Saturday it would be a safe bet to expect that David Moyes will field a fairly strong team this evening in Lake Geneva.

Vito Mannone did play against Nyonnais, so it's likely that Jordan Pickford will be given the opportunity to start his second game of this pre-season.

With Seb Larsson and John O'Shea now back in the fold it is entirely likely that both will get some game time, though whether this comes from the beginning remains to be seen. Jan Kirchhoff is also expected to play some part, and the three will most likely play around a half each.

Charles N'Zogbia has made a decent fist of his trial period at the club and is expected to also appear at some point.

The Dijon side should feature former Newcastle United midfielder Romain Amalfitano, who has been at the club since 2013.

Gav's Prediction

Sunderland have gone into this pre-season with a winning mentality, and though Dijon should provide us with a more difficult test than any of Hartlepool, Rotherham and Nyonnais did, I still expect Sunderland to win this game in a professional manner.

I'm most interested to see how we set up tonight - with only Montpellier and Borussia Dortmund left to play after tonight's game before the season starts, David Moyes will be keen to get his better players playing in his own style and formation in order to prepare us properly for the game at Manchester City in just over two weeks.

WIth that in mind, I'm going for a 3-0 Sunderland win. Jermain Defoe looked sharp at Hartlepool and with the team playing through him I'm expecting another goal or two from last season's top scorer.

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