Saturday 9th December - Wolverhampton Wanderers (3pm K/O)
Manager: Nuno Espírito Santo - The former Portugal international is now the manager of Wolves having taken over from Paul Lambert this summer. Santo was previously in charge of FC Porto and Valencia but failed to make a strong impact at either club.
Stadium: Molineux - Capacity - 31,700
Away allocation: 2,750 but can be extended by a further 1,600 seats
Most memorable game: 7th February 1998 was the last time Sunderland tasted victory at Molineux, and it was a marvelous win. Kevin Ball bagged an 88th minute winner to push the lads closer to promotion - unfortunately, however, we lost in the play-off final that year.
Worst game: Wolves is never a happy hunting ground for Sunderland - we always seem to get beat or at best steal a draw - so there are many, many candidates for our worst game there. I hated our last league visit to Wolves, where we lost 2-1. Kieran Richardson opened the scoring, before a Sebastian Larsson dive won us a penalty that he failed to convert - we haven’t missed one in a competitive game since. Moments later, Steven Fletcher bagged an equaliser and Wolves went on to win 2-1 in our first game of the post-Bruce era.
Our record: 16 wins and 30 defeats.
Last League Visit - 2-1 loss, 4th December 2011, Richardson
Tuesday 26th December - Sheffield United (3pm K/O)
Manager: Chris Wilder was linked quite heavily to Sunderland this summer - so much so that it prompted him to sign a new deal with the Yorkshire club. He began his managerial career in 2001 at Alfreton Town before successful spells at Halifax, Oxford and Northampton led him to his current role at Sheffield United.
Stadium: Brammall Lane - Capacity - 32,702
Away allocation: 3,000
Most memorable game: A destruction of Sheffield United in 1998-99 gave Sunderland a real boost towards their ultimate goal of Premier League football. 4-0 was a splendid result - though it could have been more. Michael Bridges played so well that he forced Steve Bruce into retirement, but he missed a penalty to grab himself a hat trick.
Worst game: November 1st 1986 - We left Brammall Lane with our tails between our legs after a 1-0 lead was overcome due to a last minute Sheffield United winner by David Frain. Future Sunderland player Peter Beagrie scored the Sheffield United equaliser in front of 12,317 attendees.
Our record: 20 wins and 11 draws is not terrible, though we have taken 40 defeats when visiting Sheffield United. Our recent record is quite good though, though we have not played a league game here since 2004-05.
Last League Visit, 1-0 loss, September 28th 2004
Saturday 30th December - Nottingham Forest (3pm K/O)
Manager: Mark Warburton - The former Rangers and Brentford manager came in to Nottingham Forest last season and led them to survival on the final day. Warburton also achieved promotions in his previous jobs at Brentford and Rangers - though it is unlikely that Forest will be battling at that end of the table this season.
Stadium: City Ground - Capacity - 30,445
Away allocation: 2,000 - option to fit 3,000
Most memorable game: After opening the 1996-97 season with a 0-0 home draw against Leicester, Sunderland arrived in the Midlands looking to get a first goal and win of the season. And boy did they get it - two Niall Quinn goals coupled with strikes from Michael Gray and Dickie Ord gave Sunderland a resounding 4-1 win.
Worst game: Our 1990-91 campaign was a disappointing one that eventually led to relegation from the top flight on the final day at Maine Road. But defeats like our 2-0 away one at Forest did not help in our quest for survival in a season where only two teams were relegated.
Our record: 13 wins and 11 draws, losing 23 games when visiting Forest - not a bad record, all things considered. It is actually quite surprising how little we have played against them.
Last League Visit, 2-1 win, December 28th 2004, Elliot, Stewart
Saturday 13th January - Cardiff City (3pm K/O)
Manager: Neil Warnock - The fiery manager took the Cardiff job midway through last season after the Welsh club struggled out of the gate. Warnock is probably in his final swansong as a manager and he will be hoping he can lead Cardiff back to the Premier League this season. Mind, his teams play some horrible football.
Stadium: Cardiff City Stadium - Capacity - 33,280
Away allocation: 1,800 - possibly extended to 6,000
Most memorable game: The unstoppable Roy Keane promotion tour marched into the old Ninian Park and stole a 1-0 victory, where Ross Wallace scored the late winner. The occasion was perhaps famed most for Niall Quinn’s rescue job at Bristol airport, where the then-Sunderland chairman paid out of his own pocket to get our supporters back to the North East in a fleet of taxis.
Worst game: A disappointing 4-0 defeat came towards the end of the 2003-04 season, which was pivotal in our race towards promotion. Joachim Bjorklund’s early red card cost Sunderland dearly, with Graham Kavanagh scoring for the Welsh side from the resulting free kick.
Our record: We have won 13 games in Cardiff, drawing 6 and losing 17.
Last League Visit - 2-2, December 28th 2013, Fletcher, Colback
Saturday 27th January - Birmingham City (3pm K/O)
Manager: Loyal ‘Arry - Harry Redknapp just about kept Birmingham up last season, with a final day victory at Bristol City. Redknapp has had a long and eventful career, though he has only landed one major honour - an FA cup victory at Portsmouth in 2008.
Stadium: St Andrews - Capacity - 29,409
Away allocation: 3,000 up to 4,500
Most memorable game: A splendid 2-0 victory in the FA Cup 5th round against Premier League Birmingham led Sunderland eventually to the semi final, where we were undone by Tim Cahill and Millwall. Two Tommy Smith goals in extra time was enough to send a jubilant red and white army home happy.
Worst game: Our last encounter with Birmingham genuinely had me fearful of relegation. We lost 2-0, with goals from future Sunderland players Craig Gardner and Sebastian Larsson. Fortunately Birmingham were relegated and we managed to avoid the drop - with some breathing space - with 3 wins in our final 5 games.
Our record: 16 victories and 14 draws from our 59 visits to Birmingham.
Last League visit - lost 2-0, 16th April 2011