Highwaymen set to face Sunderland U23 side

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Morpeth Town welcome Sunderland to Craik Park for their marquee pre-season friendly, which will be hosted by a Premier League referee.

The Highwaymen are hoping for a big crowd when the U23 outfit make the trip north on July 31. Also making the journey, albeit much shorter, will be official Michael Oliver, who has moved to the area and is keen to get some game time as his own pre-season preparations gather pace ahead of the Premier League season.

Having started out officiating in the Northern League in 2003, the 33-year-old has progressed quickly and had the unique honour of refereeing the League One play-off final in 2009 on the same weekend as his dad, Clive, took control of the League Two play-off final. Oliver junior has also been in charge of glamour fixtures including Real Madrid’s Champions League semi-final second leg against Juventus last season.

The Tuesday night encounter (7pm kick-off) is a chance for Morpeth fans to get a glimpse of a host of new signings, including Dan Lowson, Jeff Henderson, Adam Burnicle and Sam Hodgson, who have joined over the summer, ahead of their debut season in the Evo-Stik League.