Sunderland vs Coventry CityEnglish Championship, KO: 12:00 Jul 31, 2022, Stadium of Light
SUNDERLAND finally make their return to the English Championship on Sunday after four long years in League One and they face Coventry City at the Stadium of Light.
The Black Cats won at Wembley in the play-off final and Scottish manager Alex Neil deserved plaudits for finally getting them over the line after years of under-achievement.
But the former Hamilton Accies boss will know better than anyone that merely surviving won't be good enough for an expectant fan base.
Neil has had a busy summer with five players arriving on Wearside with the £10 million capture of Spurs star Jack Clarke the most eye-catching.
He's also made it clear he expects to get a new face on board by Sunday with speculation linking him with Ellis Sims, who was impressive on loan at Hearts from Everton last season.
They meet a Coventry side who finished in a respectable mid-table spot in the second tier last season. Mark Robins' side have looked impressive in pre-season – they have beaten Portsmouth, Walsall, Forest Green Rovers and Oxford United without conceding a goal.
City have brought in six players during the window although three of those are on loan. They will expect another big season.
How the bookies view it
Coventry City are narrow favourites across the board and can be backed at 8/5 with bet365.
Recent head to heads
The sides were last in the same division three years ago and Coverntry won their last meeting. In fact, Sunderland have failed to defeat City on their last four clashes.
Here's Sunderland's Wembley glory below when they beat Wycombe Wanderers in the play-off final.
Players to watch
Scottish striker Ross Stewart was a sensational last season for the hosts. He earned an international call-up on the back of his 26 goals for the club last season. He is 15/8 to score anytime with Paddy Power on Sunday.
Swedish striker Viktor Gyokeres also enjoyed a fine campaign last season when he scored 19 goals for club and country. He is 23/12 to score anytime with SBK.
Anything else catch the eye?
The Stadium of Light will be buzzing for Sunderland's return to the big time, but they have to settle for a draw against a strong Coventry side.
Coventry proved last season they are more than capable of competing and they will go into this game with nothing to fear after a good pre-season.
It could be a slow burner too and it's unlikely there will be a goal blitz. Try the under 2.5 goals at 16/19 with SBK.
This English Championship match between Sunderland and Coventry City will be played on Jul 31, 2022 and kick off at 12:00. Check below for our tipsters best Sunderland vs Coventry City prediction. You may also visit our dedicated betting previews section for the most up to date previews.