Sunderland chief executive Martin Bain said yesterday that the club are close to finalising plans for pre-season, with a trip to Bury on July 7th now confirmed followed by a friendly with Hibernian two days later and a visit to Livingstone on July 12th
Sandwiched in between the games in this country, Sunderland will travel to Austria for a five day training camp for the first team and Under-23s.
And so far, that's as much as has been confirmed. But eagle-eyed forumites may have noticed an apparent leak of the full itinerary last night. So is this the full list of seven pre-season fixtures the club are presently planning?
Friday 7th July - Bury, 19.30 Gigg Lane
Sunday 9th July - Hibernian FC, 14.00 Easter Road
Wednesday 12th July - Livingston FC, Almondvale Stadium, 7.45
Saturday 15th July - Fixture TBC (possibly at home)
Saturday 22nd July - Bradford City, 15.00 Valley Parade
Wednesday 26th July - Scunthorpe United, 19.30 Glanford Park
Saturday 29th July - Fixture TBC (widely thought to be a home game vs Celtic)
The first game against Bury has now been confirmed. That was following widespread speculation after the Shakers appeared to release details of the friendly via social media before hastily deleting the information. The Greater Manchester club are managed by former Sunderland midfielder Lee Clark.
Sunderland will then take part in a testimonial game for Hibs defender Lewis Stevenson. The 29-year-old defender has been with the Edinburgh club for 12 years. Half of the proceeds from the Easter Road game will go to charity.
The match may come too early for a return to Leith for former Hibs loanee Duncan Watmore.
The Sunderland forward ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament in December and was expected to undergo further surgery last month. Watmore played 9 games at Easter Road in 2014 under former Black Cats boss Terry Butcher.
A game at Scottish Championship side Livingstone then follows on a Wednesday evening. The West Lothian club play their games at the Almondvale Stadium and are managed by former Chelsea and Leeds United midfielder David Hopkin.
The squad will also travel to Austria this summer. Sunderland spent ten days there last year too under Sam Allardyce. It was from that training camp that Big Sam departed - never to return - to discuss the England job with the FA. It's not yet clear whether the club will use the same facilities as last July when they stayed in the north-west town of Laa an der Thaya.
Fans will welcome the return of friendlies at the Stadium of Light. The itinerary appears to have two slots for home games with the one on the 29th July widely speculated as being a fixture against Celtic.
Former boss David Moyes had bemoaned the lack of pre-season action at home when he joined Sunderland last season claiming the absence of friendlies on Wearside hampered the squad's preparation. The last close season fixture at home was the visit of Ajax in 2008.
Sunderland's home ground has not been able to host a pre-season game for a number of years due to staging concerts in the summer but the round of summer gigs appears to have been abandoned after it emerged the club have never made any money from them.