Sunderland will meet Fulham on the opening day of the Premier League season with home manager Paolo Di Canio firmly in the spotlight.
The new Black Cats manager was brought in to save the troubled Makems from relegation, and having survived by the skin of their teeth an expectant fan base will want to see a much stronger representation. The fiery Italian has chopped and changed his Sunderland squad and worked them hard in pre-season having criticised fitness levels at the end of last season. Emanuele Giaccherini is expected to make a big impact having arrived from Italian giants Juventus.
Fulham find themselves underneath new ownership as Shahid khan ended Mohamed Al Fayed’s 16 year tenure over the club. He has funded Martin Jol in the transfer market and Fulham now shape up with an interesting look to their side. Adel Taarabt has been brought in on loan for the season and if the Moroccan can strike up a partnership with Dimitar Berbatov then the Cottagers may well produce some exciting football.
Sunderland will be without Phil Bardsley, Wes Brown, Craig Gardner and David Vaughan. Top scorer last season Steven Fletcher still continues to recover from the ankle injury sustained last season and is a doubt, along with Lee Cattermole.
Fulham only have one injury concern – Swedish midfielder Alex Kacaniklic is carrying a hamstring injury and may not feature at the Stadium of Light.
See what the expert tipsters at OLBG are tipping on Sunderland