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Sunderland’s return bid to Premier League starts with Championship opening match versus Derby County


Sunderland are back in the lower echelon of English football.

For the Black Cats though, a move back to the real deal that is the Premier League is what they want to achieve in the coming season.

But first, they have to toil in order to accomplish that.

They open their campaign in the English Championship when they battle Derby County on August 5.

The Black Cats finished 20th and last in the 2016-17 Premier League season and found themselves back in the second-tier tournament of English football.

But with a new manager, Simon Grayson, at the helm, hope to regain pride is soaring for the Stadium of Light club.

The last time Sunderland crossed paths with Derby County, during a friendly five years ago, both sides fought to a 2-2 draw.

Hosts Sunderland may be the favourites here but the Rams might just prove to be tough to unsettle.

Ninth placers in the Championship last season, the club from Pride Park Stadium will attempt to better their performance the last term, a task manager Gary Rowett will again carry on his shoulders.

For the Black Cats, a new era will begin under Grayson’s stewardship.

Grayson has tapped the services of Brendan Galloway on a season-long loan from Everton, as well as Tyias Browning.

Other signing from the Toffees is Aiden McGeady, while James Vaughan from Bury was also acquired.

With main man Jermain Defoe, Jordan Pickford, Fabio Borini and Vito Mannone moving to other clubs, Sunderland could lean on Grayson counting on his new recruits a lot, as well as veterans Paddy McNair and Darron Gibson.

The club’s main target this season is to return to the Premier League after dropping from the last term in the company of Hull City and Middlesbrough.

For perennial promotion contenders Derby County, making it to the top flight for the first time since 2008 would be a major achievement as they mark their 10th consecutive season in the tournament.

Sunderland’s tumultuous campaign under David Moyes is history.

The time is right to seek new path in the right direction with Grayson as guiding light.

A win in their first match should provide them plenty of confidence, same as with Derby County who has brought in new faces Curtis Davies, Andre Wisdom and Tom Huddlestone to provide help.

The only way for the Black Cats to rediscover their touch is to move on, and move on faster and may be even more furious and ferocious as felines on the prowl.

For this match, a Sunderland win at home pays 2.28, a win for visiting Derby County pays 3.10, while a draw pays 3.15.