David Moyes makes his competitive bow at the Stadium of Light for what should be a full-on Wear-Tees derby clash with promoted Middlesbrough.
Sunderland have battled the drop admirably in recent seasons and the Black Cats’ plight was routinely assisted by donations received from derby encounters with Newcastle.
That source of income is gone, for this season at least, and in Aitor Karanka’s side they will surely find a derby foe willing to present a more stubborn resistance than the fallen Magpies.
Despite a feeling that Newcastle often imploded amid the powder-keg atmosphere of the derby, there is no doubt Sunderland have shown a real propensity for getting positive results in fixtures like this one.
The home side are 6/4 to garner three points from this Sunday lunchtime encounter.
Moyes will have been relatively happy despite a 2-1 defeat at Manchester City last weekend. Little was lost in a controlled display and that is perhaps a good fixture to have out of the way while Pep Guardiola finds his feet in the Premier League.
Jermain Defoe yet again showed his killer instinct in the penalty box and the one-time England man is 17/4 to score first.
Middlesbrough earned promotion from the Championship on the basis of a rock-solid defensive platform.
Despite worries over their ability to hurt Premier League opposition, they created plenty of scoring chances against Stoke at the Riverside last weekend and were perhaps unfortunate not to collect all three points against the Potters.
Alvaro Negredo, like Defoe, got off to a positive start as he marked his return to the Premier League with a goal.
The former Manchester City man already looks a shrewd summer purchase by Karanka and he is 11/5 to add to his tally against Sunderland.
It is eight years since these local rivals locked horns on league duty and, with Newcastle absent, North East supremacy is on the line.
While Sunderland fans have grown accustomed to lording it over their nearest neighbours on the field of play in recent times, Middlesbrough are fancied to take something from Sunday’s clash.
The visitors should be able to continue their unbeaten start to life back in the Premier League by earning a draw at odds of 43/20.
These occasions typically take some time to settle down and, should that be the case, the opening stages may pass with little goalmouth action.
A goal each, a point each and a sharing of the bragging rights looks the way to go, with a 1-1 draw priced at 17/4 for this Wear-Tees derby encounter.