Sunderland to play friendly ahead of Tyne-Wear derby

Sunderland AFC are set to play a behind-closed-doors friendly ahead of their derby clash with Newcastle United.

Sunderland to play friendly ahead of Tyne-Wear derby
Above; Sebastian Larsson in action in Sunderland's 1-1 draw with Southampton image source; Sunderland Echo

Sunderland AFC are looking to play a behind-closed-doors friendly to help maintain the fitness of their first-team squad ahead of their crucial derby clash with Newcastle United in a few week's time. 

Slow run of fixtures 

With Everton's commitments in the FA Cup, their clash with the Black Cats has been postponed which means that their clash at St James' Park will be their only Premier League match within the next four weeks - with the next taking place against West Bromwich Albion on April 2

With such a gap and such a fine line between them and relegation, manager Sam Allardyce has stated his intent to keep his players sharp with nine matches remaining and with just a point separating them and the Magpies the clash couldn't be anymore crucial to their possible survival. 

Good opportunity 

The likes of Sebastian Larsson who played a full 90 minutes in the Under-21's 3-2 victory over Everton on Monday night and Younes Kaboul are in need of minutes and look set to play in the arranged friendly is set to be played this coming Friday

This wouldn't be the first time the Wearside club have played a behind-closed-doors friendly as they comfortably defeated Newcastle 6-0 back in January and Allardyce seems to be relishing the prospect of a possible friendly. 

He told the Sunderland Echo that the side could play "a friendly" depending on who they "can get" and if it were to go ahead he would put a "reasonable team out" and let some players play that haven't played "very much in a competitive match". 

Allardyce continued saying that if the friendly could not be arranged for end of this week then he would "arrange a game" amongst themselves. 

Sunderland AFC will travel to take on Newcastle United at St James' Park on Sunday, March 20 with kick-off at 13:30pm BST.