It is shaping up to be a close game between these two teams, with the odds reflecting that. However, both showed last week they will concede goals this year, while also posing a threat at the other end.
The Black Cats put in a decent showing on their return to the second division so backing them to get at least a point could be a smart move. Both sides also showed they have a tendency to concede, so over 2.5 goals is expected here.
The Robins enter this clash on the back of a disappointing opening day defeat away to Hull City. After taking the lead against his former club, Nigel Pearson’s side conceded two goals in the last 20 minutes of the game, the first of which was one of the softest penalties you will ever see given. The Tiger’s new star signing Jean Michael Seri then got the winner in the dying seconds of the game, rubbing more salt into Bristol’s wounds.
It’s safe to say they will have the bit between their teeth when Sunderland come to town this weekend. The club will also be desperate to improve on recent seasons with the last two years seeing them finish 19th and 17th in the Championship. But to do that they may need to shell out some money on transfer with the four signings so far this window all coming in on Bosman deals.
The Black Cats meanwhile returned to the Championship for the first time in four long years after a torrid spell in League One. They were held to a 1-1 draw last Sunday at home to Coventry, which is not bad considering the Mackems have largely the same squad of players that gained promotion via the playoffs last May.
Dan Ballard is the standout arrival so far and he looked extremely assured against a strong Coventry forward line, limiting their chances to a minimum. Alex Neil said after the game he still wanted four or five more players through the door before the end of the window and although the current squad should have enough to stay up if those additions add quality, Sunderland will be looking at a top-half finish at the least.
It will be an interesting test for both sides, with Sunderland not having the huge backing of 40,000 plus fans as they did on Sunday. Pearson will be aware of the threat they pose, but City should be confident they can physically overpower Neil’s side like Coventry did at times last weekend.