SUNDERLAND will start their 2013-14 campaign with a home game at the Stadium of Light, facing Martin Jol’s Fulham on Saturday, August 17 before away trips to Southampton and Crystal Palace.
The trio of games before the first international break gives Paolo Di Canio a decent chance to make a good start to his first full season in charge of the Black Cats.
And fans will hope that unlike last season, when Martin O’Neill made a disappointing opening to the campaign from which the Black Cats struggled to recover, Di Canio’s remodelled Black Cats will hit the ground running.
Sunderland had hoped to start the season with an away fixture to allow a Stadium of Light pitch, relaid after the summer concerts, more time to bed in.
But they will not be too disappointed with the home start when they see the opening few fixtures of the season offer Sunderland a chance to make a solid start to the campaign.
The new Premier League fixture list, released today, shows Sunderland will once again face Everton on a Boxing Day – a relatively common meeting day for the two sides – but this time Sunderland will have to travel to Goodison Park for the game.
Sunderland’s New Year’s Day game will be at home to Aston Villa.
In terms of the derby games – the fixtures Wearside and Tyneside supporters search for first – Sunderland have been given the chance to draw first blood.
The Black Cats will meet the Magpies at the Stadium of Light on October 26 while Sunderland will travel to St James Park on February 1.
Sunderland’s season will end where it began – at home – with the Black Cats hosting Swansea on May 11.
But they will hope to be home and dry in terms of Premier League safety by then with their penultimate game being a trip to David Moyes, Manchester United at Old Trafford. Sunderland host champions Manchester United on October 5.