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(Image) This Is How Sunderland Could Lineup For The Season Opener Against Derby County

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Predicted Sunderland Lineup To Take On Derby County On The Opening Day Of The Season

The 2017/18 EFL Championship will kick off with two promotion hopefuls clashing, as Sunderland will take on Derby County on Friday evening, at the Stadium of Light.

Following a disastrous season under David Moyes last year, the Black Cats have brought in Simon Grayson to help them bounce back to the English top-flight immediately. However, the pre-season form doesn’t exactly fill the hearts of fans with great hopes, especially with them coming into this opening game on the back of a 5-0 thrashing at the hands of Scottish champions Celtic.

Team News 

Sunderland will be without Duncan Watmore and Paddy McNair who have been out since last season, while full-backs Donald Love and Bryan Oviedo too will miss out due to injuries. Jack Rodwell hasn’t featured a lot in the pre-season and misses out again. New signing Robin Ruitter may play a part if his international clearance comes through on time.

Grayson will have a big call to take on the involvement of the likes of Wahbi Khazri, Lamine Kone and Jeremain Lens who are inching for a move away from the club.

Here’s how Sunderland may line up against the Rams.

Formation: 4-4-2 

Manager: Simon Grayson 

Jason Steele (GK) 

The 26-year old joined Sunderland from Blackburn Rovers this summer and is set to make his official debut for the Wearside outfit.

Billy Jones (RB) 

The right-back slot will be occupied by the 30-year old Billy Jones. He will need to pull up his socks after the mauling against Celtic. 

Papy Djilobodji
Papy Djilobodji

Papy Djilobodji (CB) 

With Kone’s future unclear and McNair being unavailable, Grayson will have to call upon the 28-year old to start at the heart of the defence. 

John O’Shea (CB) 

The former Chelsea man will be partnered by veteran defender and club captain John O’Shea. He will have a huge role to play this season if Sunderland are to bounce back to the top division.

Brendon Galloway (LB) 

The loanee from Everton, Galloway, is set for his Sunderland debut at left-back position, with Bryan Oviedo being unavailable for selection.

Lynden Gooch (RW) 

With both Khazri and Lens not wanting to stay at the club, it remains to be seen if Grayson is willing to involve them in the first-team. If not, the 21-year old Lynden Gooch could be the way to go. 

Lee Cattermole

Lee Cattermole (CM) 

The experienced midfielder should start in the middle of the park to render some solidity to the side. 

Didier Ndong (CM) 

Cattermole is likely to be partnered by the energetic Didier Ndong. The 23-year old will provide the legs in the midfield for Sunderland. 

Aiden McGeady (LW) 

Summer arrival of Aiden McGeady is the most likely player to start on the left flank and will look to have a strong debut game at the Stadium of Light.

Aiden McGeady

James Vaughan (ST) 

The 29-year old summer signing is coming off a difficult pre-season, in which he missed two penalties. Needs goals in order to boost his confidence.

Lewis Grabban (ST) 

Another new face in the squad, the former Bournemouth man will partner Vaughan at the top of the attack.

Here’s How Sunderland Could Take The Field

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