Saturday 30th September: Preston North End (3pm K/O)
Manager: Alex Neil - The former Norwich boss took the reins this summer after current Sunderland manager Simon Grayson left the club. Neil led Norwich to promotion and relegation, before being sacked last season after Norwich failed to muster a challenge for the top 6. Neil is a good young manager who I really rate, and Preston could be a team to watch out for under his tutelage.
Stadium: Deepdale - 23,404
Away Allocation: 3,000, but can be extended to 6,000
Memorable game: In 2002-03 we went on a Premier League record run of defeats which continued as we embarked upon a spell in the Championship. But, we ended that run at 17 games with a 2-0 win at Preston. Sean Thornton and Marcus Stewart bagged the goals and it was a precious win in our run towards the playoffs that season.
Worst game: Pick your poison. So many bad defeats at Preston. 4-1 and 1-0 under Keane in 2006-07 and 3-2 in 04-05. I never fancy Sunderland at Preston, it just seems to be a hard place to go and get points.
Our record: 16 wins 16 draws and 28 defeats. Its a bit of a meh record.
Last League Visit - 4-1 loss, 14th October 2006, Varga
Saturday October 21st: Brentford (3pm K/O)
Manager: Dean Smith - Smith did a cracker of a job at Walsall, almost leading them to the Championship, before Brentford gave him a shot at leadingLemme k them to their ultimate goal of Premier League football. Last season Brentford finished 10th, but do play some good football - one to watch out for.
Stadium: Griffin Park - Capacity 12,763
Away allocation: 1,600 (1,000 standing 600 seated)
Most memorable game and worst game: The horrendous 2-1 defeat to Brentford was memorable for all the wrong reasons. Live on the tele, with bottom of the Premier League Sunderland visiting a decent League One Brentford. DJ Campbell scored both of the goals for the Bees, and Mick McCarthy was pretty much finished as Sunderland manager after the result.
Our record: 4 wins 2 draws and 3 defeats. A positive(ish) record!
Last League Visit, 1-1, 6th April 1993, Don Goodman
Saturday 4th November: Middlesbrough (3pm K/O)
Manager: Garry Monk - The former Leeds and Swansea manager walks into the Riverside with a squad capable of promotion. Boro are surely the favourite for winning the league this season, and their chances were increased when they hired the promising young manager. It’s still a shit hole though.
Stadium: Riverside Stadium - Capacity 33,746
Away Allocation: 3,000
Memorable match: A few choices to choose from since Boro moved to the Riverside. Arca in the 2-0 win. Darren Williams scoring in 1996-97. Our cup victory under Martin O'Neil in 2011-12. But I am actually going to pick our 2-2 draw in 2007-08 under Roy Keane, it was a massive point for us, and it saw Liam Miller score an underrated goal in the last minute to get us the point.
Worst game: Look no further than last season. Flat and inept, we lost 1-0 and never looked like scoring in a million years. And it pretty much confirmed our relegation.
Our record: We have won 22 games in Teeside, losing on 34 occasions. Not a terribly awful away record all things considered.
Last Visit - Lost 1-0, April 26th 2017
Tuesday 21st November - Aston Villa (7.45pm K/O)
Manager: Steve Bruce - Brucey has got a big fat heed and he loves a sausage roll. He is also a pretty good Championship manager, and is looking to secure his fourth promotion to the Premier League. Did you know he got Sunderland to tenth in the Premier League once? He doesn't like to brag about it.
Stadium: Villa Park - Capacity 42,660
Away Allocation: 2972
Most memorable result: On August 28th 1982 little old Sunderland rocked up to the European Champions Aston Villa expecting to take a beating. We were 1-0 down at half time but turned it around with goals from Colin West, Ally McCoist and Nick Pickering. An excellent way to start the season.
Worst match: Urgh... the 6-1 defeat under Paolo Di Canio was grim. Nothing else needs said.
Our record: 16 wins and 57 defeats at Villa Park. Impressively bad!
(Writers note - This will be our first second division game at Villa Park since the final day of the 1974-75 season, where Villa celebrated promotion with a 2-0 victory over the lads. This was also the season of our last second division game against Manchester United.)
Last League Visit - 2-2, 29th August 2015 - M'vila, Lens
Saturday 25th November - Burton Albion (3pm K/O)
Manager: Nigel Clough - Son of Brian, and linked with the vacant Sunderland post this summer before Sexy Simon was hired. Clough is enjoying his return to Burton following spells at Derby and Sheffield United. He was also born in Sunderland.
Stadium: Pirelli Stadium - Capacity 6,912
Away Allocation: 1,400 stood and 400 seated
Memorable game: Has not happened.
Worst game: See above.
No Previous League Meeting