Brentford vs Sunderland
Saturday 21 October
Griffin Park, 3pm
Sky Bet Championship
One of the pre-season promotion favourites with bookmakers, it's been a baptism of fire for Sunderland in the Sky Bet Championship this campaign. The Black Cats only have Bolton Wanderers below them after a ten match winless streak, with the pressure intensifying on boss Simon Grayson.
After a tame end to their ten-year stay in the top flight, Grayson sought to freshen up the dressing room at the Stadium of Light over the summer. Players with proven Championship pedigree in the shape of Aiden McGeady, James Vaughan, Jason Steele, Jonny Williams, and Lewis Grabban were signed while Jermaine Defoe, Wahbi Kzahri, Fabio Borini, and Jeremain Lens were among those to be moved on.
The season started encouragingly with a four-game unbeaten run but since then it has been slim pickings for those on Wearside with just three points taken from the last nine in the league. Grayson will be able to welcome back Lamine Kone for Saturday's trip to West London but he has injury concerns over Williams, Marc Wilson, and Tyias Browning.
Simon Grayson took over at the Stadium of Light in the summer after a four-and-a-half year spell at Preston North End. During his time at Deepdale he rescued North End from the brink of relegation in his first season, before defeat in the play-offs a year later, the same season The Bees earned promotion. He led them up, via the Play-Offs 12 months later and secured two 11th placed finishes in the second tier before his departure.
The full-back made more than 500 professional appearances in an 18-year professional career which took in Leeds United, Leicester City, Aston Villa, and Blackpool among others. As a manager, Grayson earned promotion from League One with his first three clubs, Blackpool, Leeds United, and Huddersfield Town, before repeating the trick with Preston.
Tickets for Saturday's game are on sale to Previous Purchasers now from just £25 adults and £8 juniors. Get your tickets for the visit of Sunderland here.
iFollow Brentford will be live from 2.30pm tomorrow with Mark Burridge hosting the show alongside Marcus Gayle and Luis Melville.