Which away game will be the hardest?
Andy Thompson says…Millwall
They bombarded us with their physicality and aerial balls last season.
They’ll doubtless play the same way this time and The Den is a very hostile ground at the best of times.
I hope the Lads can dig deep again, especially with the height we’ve added to our squad during this transfer window.
Jon Guy says…Leicester City
They may have lost some key players, but they have a decent squad and will likely spend big in the transfer window, so I think it’ll be our biggest challenge away from home.
Kev Barker says…Leeds United
This will be a tough test.
They always have a big rowdy crowd and will be a strong side at this level.
Kev Campbell says…Leeds United
For various reasons, our trip to Elland Road in April looks set to be this season’s toughest test.
Both sides should be fighting at the top end of the table and at this stage of the season, three points could be the difference between automatic promotion, the playoffs or even potentially missing out.
Kyle Garrett says…Leeds United
They’ll want to make Elland Road a fortress after being so poor at home last season, so I can see that being a tough destination for most clubs.
Tom Albrighton says…Southampton
Nobody will envy a trip to St Mary’s, with a ridiculous distance to travel on top of the Saints being one of the leading candidates to bounce straight back up.
We never seem to travel well to the south coast and many of us still have PTSD from a certain game there. You’d expect Southampton to lead the way for most of the season, which makes this task even more unenviable.
Closer to home, our poor record at Middlesbrough and the fact they can get up for their mythical derby also comes with an overriding sense of dread.
Where will Sunderland finish in the Championship table?
Andy Thompson says…Fifth
It all depends on the fitness of individuals.
I have us down to finish in the top six again but I wouldn’t be disappointed if we finished anywhere down to tenth.
The Championship will be extremely competitive this year but hopefully with a fair wind and some luck on the injury front, we can have a top six finish!
Jon Guy says…Top six
If we have good options up front, there’s nothing to say we can’t make the playoffs, and given the chances we create, we could challenge for the top two.
My hope is that we sign more strikers, finish in the top four, and it’s promotion via the playoffs!
Kev Barker says…Top ten
The league looks stronger on paper this season.
Teams will be expecting a tough game against us, they’ll know more about our key players and it looks like being another rollercoaster.
If we can sign a couple of forwards of a certain calibre, I think a playoff run is on again. I just want to see more of the beautiful football we saw at times last season.
Kev Campbell says…Champions!
I know that on paper, this season’s Championship is stronger than last year. However, no team frightens me.
I think we easily forget that we finished in the playoffs while playing half of the season with a patched-up defence and no fit strikers.
So far, we’ve brought players back to full fitness, signed reinforcements where we’re short, and given Tony Mowbray a full pre-season to continue moulding this squad into the most exciting young team in the league.
I genuinely believe we’ve got as good a chance as anyone to be sat on top of the league come May.
Kyle Garrett says…Top six
I think we’ll be in and around the playoffs.
Again, I don’t think you can really predict these things until the end of the transfer window but based on last season, I think we’ll be up there again.
We need to find an adequate Amad replacement and deal with the Jack Clarke situation as it happens.
Tom Albrighton says…it’s tough to call!
It’s hard to predict and with such a stacked top six or top eight, I don’t think the fans could be too disheartened with a top ten finish.
It would indeed feel somewhat anticlimactic given the endeavours of 2022/2023, but this is an objectively harder league to escape.
Given a real lack of quality down at the bottom end, you’d expect a leading pack to emerge after fifteen or so games.
If we make it into that pack, we’ll surely fancy ourselves to make the playoffs but unlike last season, I can’t see any side that has a sticky patch recovering to get into the top six.
It’ll be a long slog of a season and at times, our much-adored style may have to take a back seat to pragmatism. With all that said, Sunderland never do anything normally or easily, so expect another rollercoaster season!