TODAY’S ’23 in 23’ puts the focus on Sunderland, who will be playing in the third-tier of English football for only the second time in their history.
WHEN DO WE PLAY THEM?
HOME: Saturday 15 September
AWAY: Saturday 30 March
Sunderland A.F.C were formed in 1880 and joined the Football League in 1890, after spending several years competing in the FA Cup and local cup competitions. Sunderland won the First Division title six times between 1892 and 1936, while they also lifted the 1937 and 1973 FA Cups.
Sunderland made history last season when they became the first club to finish bottom of the Premier League and the Championship in consecutive seasons. Their relegation to the third-tier of English football was confirmed when Darren Bent and Liam Boyce scored late goals to secure a 2-1 win for the Brewers at the Stadium of Light in April.
Sunderland finished the season with 37 points from 46 games, having conceded 80 goals and picking up just seven wins.
The Stadium of Light has a current capacity of 48,707. It was opened in July 1997 with a match against Dutch giants Ajax. The stadium is roughly 165 miles from the Pirelli Stadium, which is a drive of around three hours.
Newly-appointed manager Jack Ross is taking on his first managerial role in English football, having made a name for himself in Scotland as manager of Alloa Athletic and latterly St. Mirren.
Ross, 42, took over Alloa in December 2015. He took charge of 29 matches during almost 10-month tenure, winning 11, losing 11 and drawing seven.
The Scot was appointed manager of Scottish Championship side St. Mirren in October 2016. Ross managed 80 games across almost two seasons, he won 42 of them including an incredible 23 wins from 36 games in the 2017/18 season, as The Saints won the title and secured promotion back to the Scottish Premiership.
Ross was appointed Sunderland Manager in May, following the departure of former Wales manager Chris Coleman.
Sunderland have added 25-year-old defender Alim Ozturk to their ranks ahead of the 2018/19 season. The Turkish centre-half signed a two-year deal at the club last week.
Ozturk counts Hearts, SC Cambuur and Trabzonspor among his former clubs and is capped at under 21 level for Turkey.