The 2017-18 EFL season kicks off tomorrow night with Sunderland hosting Derby County in front of the Sky cameras.
Nottingham Forest also start their season at home to Millwall in an untelevised match.
Sunderland vs Derby
Now under the watchful eye of Simon Grayson, Sunderland will be keen to secure an immediate return to the Premier League. Derby however are looking to mount their own promotion challenge.
They have however had several off field issues to deal with from rumours of a takeover to Darron Gibson publically criticising the club. Now, they need to put those issues aside and focus on getting off to a flyer with victory.
Derby however have had a strong summer with Tom Huddlestone and Andre Wisdom being notable highlights. With Gary Rowett beginning his first full season with the Rams, they will surely be amongst the promotion contenders, although there are around 15 clubs probably in mix.
As the opening match of this season, expect both teams to go for it but Derby have the better strikers going forwards because the Mackems have James Vaughan, who was in League One last season.
Add in their contrasting record on the opening day then things look bleak for Sunderland. They have not won their last seven opening matches of a season.
County have however gone unbeaten across their opening matches in that same period. With Rowett in charge, expect a Derby win because he has won his last four opening day fixtures as a manager so their chances look strong.
The downside is that the Black Cats have ruled this fixture in the last ten meetings. That stat will please Grayson because the last five Sunderland bosses have lost their first game in charge.
Realistically there are arguments for both sides but Derby has that extra quality in their squad.
Prediction: Sunderland 0-1 Derby County
Result: Sunderland 1-1 Derby County
Nottingham Forest vs Millwall
Nottingham Forest had a close brush with relegation last season whilst Millwall came up via the League One play offs.
They now meet in this opening game with stronger squads than when they finished last season.
Forest’s opening day home record is impressive, having not lost at home in second tier since 1955. Their recent record too makes for great reading, having won four of their last five opening fixtures.
Millwall themselves have won their first games in the past three seasons with two of them coming under manager, Neil Harris.
The match itself should be interesting but with so many new players, it will be tough to call. One of the home team’s new signings is Jason Cummings from Hibernian.
Cummings has scored 20+ goals in the past three seasons for Hibs so he could well be the key here in a tough match.
Prediction wise, it is a total guess but Nottingham Forest have that extra quality in their squad.
Prediction: Nottingham Forest 2-1 Millwall
Result: Nottingham Forest 1-0 Millwall