Having limited our pre-season travels to just clubs in the north east thus far, this evening we take a short journey down the east coast to play Sky Bet League Two side Grimsby Town.
Jack Ross has rotated his players somewhat, but there are a few who perhaps need further minutes on the pitch. Results so far - a defeat and a draw against our lower league neighbours - is obviously a disappointment, but this is all about the players getting mentally and physically fitter.
And, whilst the results mightn’t have been good enough, the players will be edging closer and closer to full fitness.
As the summer wears on, results and performances will take on greater significance as the opening day fixture looms on the horizon. For fans, though, the need for reassurance and positivity is paramount.
Having seen our club fall fast and far, failure this year is not an option. The sight of new players gives supporters as a buzz, as does the removal of the pink seats. But both the squad and the stadium are some way off where we would like them to be. Both will take time and patience, and fans are encouraged to play their part on both fronts.
For now, it’s about supporting the team and giving them our patience and encouragement.
Today will be a further step-up in preparations as we play a League Two side.
Former Sunderland player - and regular Roker Report podcast guest - Danny Collins will be among the opposition, having joined the Mariners in September 2016.
Joining him will be former academy midfielder Jordan Cook, who signed a two-year deal this summer after being released by recently-promoted Luton Town.
In the opposition dugout will be Michael Jolley, the former Burnley Under-23 boss, who was appointed as manager at Blundell Park back in March. The 40-year-old’s prior role had been as manager of Swedish side Eskilstuna, but he left Scandanavia following their top-flight relegation.
The Gaffer Says...
Looking back at it [Saturday’s game], I think we put a lot of quality balls into the box. We need to add that cutting edge to our game, but we have to make sure we become more secure in defensive areas.
We played a lot of the game on the front foot, and when you do that you have to make sure one ball doesn’t beat you, which is what happened on Saturday.
It was another small step forward for us, and although I’m not going to hide behind the fact we have an awful lot of hard work to do, I was pleased with the players and the way they approached the game.
Naturally, you want to start building winning momentum and get that mentality into the players, but the second pre-season was a lot different to the one in midweek.
We have an understanding of where we need to get to and slowly but surely we are getting there as a squad.
The Treatment Table...
Aiden McGeady is still a few weeks off returning and may not actually get any minutes under his belt until we face Middlesbrough in our final pre-season game.
Alim Ozturk missed the game on Saturday but it’s hoped that he’ll be able to play some part tonight, and he’ll be hoping to show the watching Sunderland supporters what he’s capable of after a less than convincing run out against Darlington.
Fellow newbie Reece James also didn’t make the squad at the weekend and may feature, coming into the team in place of youngster Denver Hume, who played a full 90 minutes at left back at Victoria Park.
Where Can I Catch The Game?
Sunderland have sold over 500 tickets for Tuesday’s game, and cash turnstiles will be in operation if you fancy travelling down to Blundell Park (kick-off is 7:30pm).
Gates open at 6.15pm, with prices set at £12 for adults, £6 for concessions, and accompanied juniors can attend the game for free.
Alternatively, there will be FREE live audio provided on the club website by Nick Barnes, and you can tune in from around 7pm on SAFC.com.