Sunderland kick off their Championship campaign against Derby County at Stadium of Light on Friday night.
The Black Cats have spent the past 10 years in the Premier League, but were relegated following a calamitous campaign last time out – and Simon Grayson will be determined to see his side make a solid start to the season following his appointment as David Moyes’ successor as Sunderland boss earlier this summer.
In eight of the past 11 seasons, a team relegated from the Premier League in the previous season has secured automatic promotion back into the top tier and Sunderland are chalked up as Betsafe’s 119/100 (2.19) favourites to take the first step towards achieving that objective with a win in this match.
Derby County had a dreadful record on the road in the Championship last term, winning just two of their last 13 league matches away from Pride Park in the division, but County are hoping for a better season this time around and Gary Rowett’s men can be backed at 9/4 (3.25) to take all three points. There is 9/4 (3.25) that the match remains all square at the end of 90 minutes.
Sunderland have lost goalkeeper Jordan Pickford, while last season’s top scorer Jermain Defoe has also departed Stadium of Light and the Black Cats have overhauled their squad, with Grayson bringing in no fewer than six new faces so far this summer.
Further work, however, is still required and Sunderland suffered a chastening 5-0 defeat at the hands of Scottish champions Celtic in their final pre-season friendly last weekend.
The Black Cats kept a clean sheet in just one of their seven pre-season friendlies this summer and the manner of that defeat against Brendan Rodgers’ charges last time out will surely be a cause for concern for Grayson.
Tom Ince, so often a key man for Derby last season, has departed Pride Park for Huddersfield Town, but the Rams have brought in Andre Wisdom from Liverpool, as well as Jake Livermore from Hull City and there is a feeling amongst many observers that the Rams may well be capable of pushing for promotion during the upcoming campaign.
The 9/4 (3.25) , therefore, for Derby to take all three points from this match may well prove popular with punters, but better value may lie in backing at least three goals to be scored when these two teams lock horns.
Sunderland still appear to be suffering from the defensive fragility that proved so costly last season, while the selection would have landed in five of Derby’s final six Championship away-days last season.
As such, it is the generous 26/25 (2.04) quote for more than two goals to be scored in this game that could offer punters a path to profit from Friday’s curtain-raising fixture from the Championship.
|Over 2.5 goals at 26/25 (2.04) for a 1pt stake with Betsafe|