THIS season’s Durham County FA Challenge Cup final will once again be staged at Sunderland’s Stadium of Light.

The game between Spennymoor Town, of Vanarama National League North, and Sunderland’s Under-23s will take place on Tuesday, March 31 (7.30pm).

Last year’s final between local non-league rivals Shildon and South Shields was staged at the Stadium of Light, and Sunderland officials have been keen to keep the tie up with the Durham FA’s flagship event going.

Durham County FA chief executive John Topping said: “The Durham County FA partnership with our senior club, Sunderland AFC, has worked really well over the past 12 months, with both organisations helping each other provide development and opportunities to many.

“We are excited by the opportunities that lie ahead for football in our county as we work together more and more closely.

“We are absolutely delighted that Sunderland AFC has agreed to host the final once again. This further endorses the club’s commitment to grassroots football and the wider community.

“To play at such an iconic venue is the dream of all players outside of the professional game and is a massive boost for the County FA and the competition.

“This gesture is further proof that our senior club is committed to working in partnership with the County FA.

“In turn, we recognise the benefits to football in the county from us helping Sunderland AFC be successful in its attempts to reach as wide an audience as possible for watching league football.”

Sunderland’s academy manager Paul Reid added: “The role of the County FA is vital in growing and enhancing football within our region, at every level. We are hugely appreciative of the support they offer us as a club and of the hard work of John and his team.

“We are delighted to be hosting the final at the Stadium of Light again, which will be made all the more special by the fact that our Under-23 side will be involved”.

The Durham Challenge Cup began in the 1883-84 season, when Sunderland AFC were the inaugural winners.

Ticket details for this month’s final will be released shortly.