Sunderland to play Hartlepool United in behind-closed-doors friendly

Duncan Watmore in action for Sunderland this summer.Duncan Watmore in action for Sunderland this summer.
Duncan Watmore in action for Sunderland this summer.
Sunderland will play Hartlepool United in a behind-closed-doors friendly on Monday at the Academy of Light.

A strong Sunderland side is expected to take on National League Pools in the final friendly of the summer, ahead of the start of the new League One campaign against Oxford United on August 3.

Pools boss Craig Hignett revealed the plans to face Sunderland and said his squad, who face Macclesfield at the Super 6 Stadium on Saturday, is looking forward to the challenge.

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Writing in his weekly blog for the club website, Hignett posted: “We have got a bonus game in the pre-season schedule planned in for Monday now when we’ll take on Sunderland in a behind-closed-doors fixture up at the Academy of Light.

“I say it’s a bonus because that will allow me to split the squad and give every player ninety minutes on the pitch over the course of Saturday and Monday’s games, which is perfect really with just a week to go until the season starting.

“I have been told that Sunderland are going to be putting out a fairly strong team on Monday too so it will be a good challenge for us and it’s brilliant timing because if we can get a full game in to all to the lads then they’ll be fresh and ready for next Saturday.”

Sunderland face Dutch outfit Heerenveen at the Stadium of Light on Saturday evening (KO 7pm), their fourth pre-season game.

The Black Cats then face Oxford next weekend on Wearside to kick off the new season.