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Preview: Gateshead vs. Sunderland - prediction, team news

:Headline: Preview: Gateshead vs. Sunderland - prediction, team news:
Sports Mole previews Saturday's friendly clash between Gateshead and Sunderland, including predictions and team news.
Sports Mole

Sunderland are serving double-duty on Saturday with one of two friendlies taking place against Gateshead.

Meanwhile, having begun their pre-season schedule against non-league opposition earlier this week, Gateshead now step up in class against the Championship outfit.

Match preview

With their season having been extended to the Championship playoffs last season, the knock-on effect for Sunderland has been a shortened break over the summer.

In order to get his team back up to speed, Tony Mowbray has organised two friendlies to be played on the same afternoon, with this fixture following the one that is being staged at South Shields.

The assumption is that Mowbray will use two different squads, with new signings and an array of youth players in line for game time with numerous players having already departed the Stadium of Light.

Sunderland fans will be eager to see a glimpse of Jobe Bellingham, but a first viewing of centre-backs Nectarios Triantis, which will come later in the summer, and Jenson Seelt will also be of interest.

The upcoming double-header are Sunderland's only fixtures before they head to the United States, with their first game coming against San Antonio on July 16.

Meanwhile, Gateshead were in action earlier this week, recording a 1-0 win at Hebburn to kick-start their summer calendar.

A triallist was responsible for securing the win for the National League outfit in a game which saw Mike Williamson name two entirely different sides.

There have already been a raft of changes in personnel as Williamson attempts to lift Gateshead from last season's 14th place, Ed Francis a notable addition having finished the season on loan from Notts County.

With Newcastle United to follow next weekend, Williamson will hope that his players can make a statement against a fellow North East giant before taking on the Champions League qualifiers at their home ground.

Gateshead friendly form:
  • W

Mowbray's priority over the course of the afternoon will be to hand as many players as possible at least 45 minutes of action to help kick-start their summer regime.

Sunderland were plagued by injury issues during the closing weeks of last season, and although some members of the squad will return, Elliot Embleton's return from an ankle injury will not come until the tour of the United States.

Corry Evans and Ross Stewart also remain on the sidelines, while Trai Hume and Triantis will not feature at the weekend due to their recent spells away on international duty.

Meanwhile, Williamson used as many as four trialists in the game with Hebburn, whose stay could be extended for a game of this magnitude.

However, Gateshead should line up with their strongest side, which may see the likes of Louis Storey, Kenton Richardson and Adam Campbell all come back into the team.

We say: Gateshead 0-2 Sunderland

With another game taking place at South Shields, it is difficult to predict the standard of Sunderland side that will take to the pitch at the Gateshead International Stadium. However, we can only predict a hard-fought win for the Black Cats versus opposition who may push them all the way.

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