Sunderland back in the second tier with a bang?

Sunderland return to the Championship after a four-season absence when they host Coventry City on Sunday lunchtime.

The Black Cats turned their campaign around under Alex Neil last term, and conquered the League One play-offs after climbing into fifth place at the back end of 2021/22.

The visitors performed well above expectations last season to compete for a play-off place the majority of the season, falling away slightly towards the end to finish in 12th place.

Both sides have some extremely capable attacking players and it will be interesting to see which team can kick-off the season on the front foot.

Background

Arguably Coventry’s best player is energetic attacking midfielder Callum O’Hare, and the 24-year-old has been the subject of multiple bids from Burnley this summer, it will be interesting to see if he is in the frame of mind for Mark Robins to give him a start, or whether an exit is sealed before the game.

The Sky Blues have bolstered their defence with the loan signings of Jonathan Panzo from Nottingham Forest and Callum Doyle from Manchester City, typically playing a back three under Robins.

Doyle spent last season at Sunderland and his ball playing ability could be more greatly appreciated at the CBS Arena.

The Black Cats have brought in Alex Bass to provide cover between the sticks from Portsmouth, Aji Alese to strengthen the backline from West Ham United, Jack Clarke from Tottenham Hotspur, Leon Dajaku from Union Berlin and Daniel Ballard from Arsenal.

Clarke and Dajaku offer versatile options for Neil to utilise in the final third, while Ballard has been on a steep upward trajectory in loan spells at Blackpool and Millwall in the last two seasons, with the Wearside club putting a marker down by bringing him in on a permanent transfer.

Sunderland are expected to be the strongest of the three newly promoted sides this season, and with their huge support at the Stadium of Light, and Neil’s experience of performing exceptionally in the second tier with Norwich City and Preston North End in the past, a portion of the supporter base will have one eye on competing for a double promotion.

Both sides have plenty of goals in their ranks and it should be a cracking atmosphere in the North East, definitely one to tune in for at midday on Sunday.

Home support could give the Black Cats the edge, both sides are priced up evenly, and the Sky Blues are more than capable if the occasion overwhelms Sunderland.

Sunderland - Coventry City Betting Tip

Both Teams to Score with bet365 at odds of 4/5 or 1.80.


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