Sunderland v Derby County Predictions, Betting Tips and Previews

July 31, 2017

- Grant Whittington

Friday 4 August – The Stadium of Light – the Championship

The Football League season kicks off with newly-relegated Sunderland’s first game in the Championship for a decade. New boss Simon Grayson’s opening match comes against a Derby side who will be favourites for at least a play-off spot under Gary Rowett.

Past Meetings

Historically Sunderland lead 58 to 48 in wins between the two clubs but they haven’t met since 2007-08. In those meetings a decade ago there was just one goal in the two fixtures, Sunderland winning the Stadium of Light meeting 1-0.

Team News

Derby have suffered a blow with loss of former Sunderland hit-man Darren Bent until at least Christmas and are missing centre back Jason Shackell with a back problem and midfielder George Thorne, who has a hamstring injury following the broken leg which ruled him out of all of last season.

Sunderland are still without Paddy McNair and almost certainly Duncan Watmore as the young starlets are still not recovered from long term injuries which ruled them out of most of last season. Other than that though Simon Grayson’s new look Sunderland will be at full strength, though Darron Gibson’s future is up-in-the-air after his much-publicised outburst.

Sunderland v Derby Preview and Predictions

Rowett had nine games at the end of last season to take stock of The Rams. Although he lost two of his most talented players in the summer with the transfers of Will Hughes and Tom Ince he has made a major capture with the return to Pride Park of Tom Huddlestone. His composure could be influential amongst the hustle and bustle of championship football.

Joining Huddlestone in moving from Hull is centre-back Curtis Davies, who will add steel to the visitors’ defence, which will also include Andre Wisdom, newly arrived from Liverpool.

Despite losing Bent, Rowett’s riches in having Chris Martin, David Nugent, Nick Blackman, Matej Vydra, Johnny Russell and Andreas Weismann to select from up front may give them too much fire-power for Sunderland and the Rams are 9/4 for the victory.

Sunderland have been shorn of their best players Jordan Pickford and Jermain Defoe. In their place come a host of loans and modest buys, best known of which is winger Aidan McGeady.

In pre-season Sunderland have included Holland international Jeremain Lens who spent last season on loan in Turkish football. Lens has looked excellent but is seeking a move and Sunderland appear willing to sell but if he is still at the club he could be the difference. Sunderland are 23/20 to start the season with a victory.

Recommended bets

Derby to win 2-0 at 16/1

Sunderland will need time to gel under Simon Grayson and this is a good time for new look Derby to play at the Stadium of Light.

Sunderland to win at 23/20

Backed by a passionate home crowd eager to make a fresh start Sunderland could come out on top, especially if Jeremain Lens is still at the club.

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