Martin O'Neill has admitted that the release of the 2012/13 Premier League fixture list has 'galvanised' everybody at Sunderland as they prepare for the new season.
The former Leicester City, Celtic and Aston Villa boss is looking ahead to his first full season in charge of the Black Cats after joining last December, following the sacking of Steve Bruce.
O'Neill is looking forward to leading Sunderland in their sixth successive top-flight campaign and the Northern Irishman is already relishing the opening day clash against Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium.
"The confirmation of the fixtures galvanises everyone's thoughts towards the new season and the planning and preparation has already begun in earnest," he told the club's official website.
"Our opening game is certainly a challenging one.
"There's a lot of hard work to be done between now and then in order to ensure we are ready for the season ahead, but we are certainly looking forward to seeing what we can achieve."