Sunderland midfielder Jack Rodwell has described facing his former club Everton as "a special fixture", as the Black Cats prepare to face the Merseysiders at 8PM tonight searching for their first win of the new Premier League season.
Several players facing their former club
Rodwell is of course well acquainted with the Toffees after making 109 appearances for the club over five years, and the midfielder told the Sunderland Echo that the fixture is one he "will always look forward to".
The 25-year-old is not the only former Everton player in the current Sunderland squad, with summer signings Steven Pienaar and Victor Anichebe both spending several years on Merseyside under the guidance of David Moyes.
"Everton are in great form and they are a great side" said Rodwell, who still has the unwanted record of not winning any Premier League games in which he has started for the Black Cats, an astonishing stat when you consider he was signed back in 2014.
Rodwell desperate for all important first win
The Englishman also admitted that a win would be "a weight off our shoulders", and that if he and his team-mates can secure all three points later tonight then it will be "an even bigger boost to confidence."
Rodwell pointed out the advantage that Sunderland have by being at home, saying that "the atmosphere will be electric" at the Stadium of Light. The midfielder added that a win would leave the club with four points and "looking at mid-table with great confidence behind you."
Sunderland fans will be hoping for a repeat of their comfortable 3-0 win in this fixture in the penultimate game of last season, which also secured the Wearsiders' Premier League status for the 2016/17 campaign.
With Everton now under the management of Ronald Koeman however, it will likely be a totally different game to last season, when former boss Roberto Martinez had reportedly lost the dressing room.