Saturday 31st March: Derby County (3pm K/O)
Manager: Gary Rowett was inexplicably sacked by Birmingham City last season with the team on the outskirts of the playoffs. Their loss, however, was Derby’s gain and Rowett looks to be assembling a solid Championship squad capable of promotion to the Premier League at long last.
Stadium: Pride Park - Capacity 33,597
Away allocation: 3,200
Most memorable game: Remember the time we beat Derby away 5-0 to go 4th in the Premier League and then won our next two games to go second? Yeah, it actually happened. The 1999-2001 era was the greatest in Sunderland’s modern history and it was epitomised by results like this one. We went away to an established Premier League club and absolutely twatted them - a Kevin Phillips hat trick coupled with goals by Niall Quinn and Gavin McCann gave us a resounding victory.
Worst game: Our last visit to the Baseball Ground saw us lose 1-0 to a late penalty by Aljosa Asanovic. This result against a relegation rival ultimately would be what cost Sunderland their Premier League status in the 1996-97 season. We battled with 10 men for virtually the whole game after an early Richard Ord red card, and ultimately fell short through a penalty.
Our record: We have won 15 games in all of our visits to Derby, though we have only lost one game at Pride Park. Overall we have 15 wins, 18 draws and 35 defeats.
Last League Visit - 0-0 - March 1st 2008
Saturday 7th April: Leeds United (3pm K/O)
Manager: Thomas Christiansen - Who is he you may ask? Well I only have his Wikipedia page to go by and it seems that he is a totally random appointment that makes no sense.
Stadium: Elland Road - Capacity - 37,890
Away allocation: 3,000
Most memorable game: Roy Keane’s second game in charge of the lads in September 2006 gave us fans more than we could have ever asked for. Brisk football. Beautiful goals. A win against Leeds. Splendid. Liam Miller, Graham Kavanagh and Stephen Elliott got the goals to continue our surge towards the Premier League.
Worst game: In 1989-90 Sunderland were looking to gain promotion to the First Division. Leeds United however were a formidable side that would actually win the top flight the following the season after gaining promotion. Sunderland rocked into Leeds looking to keep their promotion charge on track. Unfortunately two first half goals was enough to send the home side on their way, with Bobby Davison and Chris Fairclough getting the goals.
Our record: We have won 11 games at Elland Road. Again, this is a stadium that we have good recent memories at, having not lost here since April 2002.
Last League Visit - 3-0 win, September 13th 2006 - Miller, Kavanagh & Elliott
Saturday 14th April: Reading (3pm K/O)
Manager: Jaap Stam had a accolade-ridden playing career and he is looking to add medals as a manager as well. Stam led Reading to the play off final this past season, where they were undone by David Wagner’s Huddersfield. This coming campaign should be tougher, but Stam will feel confident of another promotion push.
Stadium: Madjeski Stadium - Capacity 24,161
Away allocation: 4,300
Most memorable game: One of the few bright sparks of our disastrous 1994-95 campaign was our 2-0 away victory at Reading’s old stadium Elm Park. Andy Melville and Phil Gray bagged vital goals that actually put us in eighth place. Ultimately, though, we only survived that season by six points so this victory had massive importance in our fight to avoid 3rd tier football.
Worst game: Our pre-christmas trip to Reading in 2007-08 was a difficult affair that put us in the bottom three on Christmas day. We had the game level at 1-1 with a point being a great result away to a relegation rival. Then controversy. Stephen Hunt looked to have his effort magnificently saved by Craig Gordon, only for the linesman to rule that the ball had crossed the line, when clearly the ball had not. Reading got relegated that season and we stayed up though, so we got the last laugh.
Our record: We have traveled to Reading ten times in our history, winning three of those games and drawing one. We have not won here since the 2003-04 season.
Last League Visit - 2-1 loss, 2nd February 2013, Gardner
Saturday 28th April: Fulham (3pm K/O)
Manager: Slaviša Jokanović led Watford to Promotion to the Premier League, only to see himself get sacked. He now wants to lead Fulham back to the big time, and came very close last season - losing to Reading 2-1 on aggregate.
Stadium: Craven Cottage - Capacity 25,700
Away allocation: 7,000
Most memorable game: Our second away win of the 2007-08 season saw us beat Fulham 3-1 in a vital relegation 6-pointer. Goals scored by Danny Collins, Michael Chopra and Kenwyne Jones gave us a marvelous victory in the capital.
Worst Game: The game we always seem to lose. A newly promoted team welcomes Sunderland in one of their early fixtures and turns us over. Fulham were that team in 2001, and they managed two late goals - scored by Louis Saha and Barry Hayles.
Our record: One of the few grounds where we have won more than we have lost! 13 wins and only 11 defeats. Hopefully we will add a win to that this season on our way to a promotion party.
Last League Visit - 4-1 win, 11th January 2014 Johnson hat trick & Ki