New Sunderland manager Simon Grayson is looking for a positive start as they prepare for life in the Championship.
The former Leicester City defender told BBC Radio Newcastle that a good start could be key.
“We all want a positive start, but Fulham beat Newcastle first game of last season and Newcastle were promoted.” he said.
”At Preston we lost our first six and were around the play-offs at the end of the season.
“I know what my team is for Friday night, but in a few weeks I don’t know. We’re vulnerable to players leaving.
“When you look at Derby, they’ve spent a huge amount of money over a couple of seasons now and they will be disappointed they didn’t finish anywhere near last season.
“It’s a great opportunity for us to get off to a good start.” he finished.