Sunderland set for Darlington clash
League Two Darlington will host the north-east's big three clubs in pre-season after Sunderland announced two more friendlies. The Barclays Premier League side will visit the Northern Echo Darlington Arena on Thursday, July 16 (kick-off 7.30pm), two days before arch-rivals Newcastle head down the A1. Middlesbrough confirmed they will play at Darlington, now managed by former Sunderland defender Colin Todd, on Wednesday, July 29. Steve Bruce's side will then fly out to Portugal to face Liga Vitalis side Portimonense at the Estadio Municipal in Portimao on Sunday, July 19 (kick-off 9pm). Two members of Bruce's squad will be in familiar surroundings on the Algarve with Paul McShane and Daryl Murphy having played at the stadium for the Republic of Ireland during their Portuguese training camp at the end of last season. Sunderland have already announced games against Benfica and Atletico Madrid at the Amsterdam Tournament and trips to Celtic and Hearts as they prepare for the new season.
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