Simon Grayson’s Sunderland will kick off the 2017/18 Football League campaign under the lights at the Stadium of Light against Gary Rowett’s Derby County, in what looks to be a feisty encounter.
The Rams endured a disappointing season last term, in which they missed out on a Championship play-off place, so will undoubtedly be looking to go one step further next season.
The Black Cats will have major aspirations themselves however, after what was a dismal season for all concerned with the club last term, which inevitably culminated in relegation from the Premier League.
Now managed by former Preston boss Grayson, there is a major flow of optimism around the club, and all eyes now switch firmly to August the 4th.
Here, with six potential new signings, FLW writer George Harbey names the starting XI that will ensure Sunderland open up their 2017/18 Championship campaign with a victory over Derby County…