Portugal pre-season trip
Stewart Donald revealed on the Roker Rapport podcast at the weekend that Sunderland are putting the finishing touches to a pre-season tour.
The team went to Portugal last season but did not arrange any games for the fans to go and watch, but that will be different during this summer’s pre-season as we can reveal the worst kept secret in history - that the club will return to Portugal for a tour that will likely see them play two games.
Official details of the dates and location should be announced soon - although we understand that it’s over six days towards the back end of July, and that as of writing no games have been officially confirmed.
Donald wouldn’t be drawn on exact details of the tour during his Podcast appearance, but did indicate that the official announcement would come soon:
We are pretty much finalised on 80 per cent of that, we have organised the tour, it just needs to be announced, I think we were just finalising some opposition.
Last summer the pre-season going away was good but there was no games for the fans to go and watch.
It is a great way to bond, a great feeling to get away and follow your team in Spain or Portugal or wherever it is.
We wanted two games, going away again for the same period of time. That is pretty much done and will be announced in the very near future.
You can watch the full podcast with Stewart Donald via the YouTube video below.
McInnes pessimistic on Shinnie
Reported Sunderland target Graeme Shinnie is out of contract with Aberdeen in the summer, with the Scottish international in demand.
The Dons’ skipper held talks with Derby County last week but Shinnie was with Aberdeen for the Scottish Cup Semi-Final defeat to Celtic - although he missed the game through suspension.
The Scottish club’s manager Derek McInnes says there are no new developments on the player’s future just yet but admits he has not spoken to him about the situation yet:
There is nothing new on it. Shinnie was at the game, he was at the hotel with the team, but I haven’t actually spoken to him about his own situation really. We plan to do so.
When asked if he thought Shinnie may remain with his club, McInnes was pessimistic about their chances of keeping the player at Pittodrie:
I suppose there is a chance, but we are up against it with that one I think.
Academy product signs new deal
Sunderland academy product Joel Dixon has signed a new deal with National League side Barrow AFC that will see him remain at the club until the end of next season.
Dixon signed for Barrow in the summer of 2015 after being released by Sunderland and is now the Cumbrian club’s longest serving player.
The goalkeeper has kept 12 clean sheets in 25 games for his team this season, which has helped his team to 11th in the table.