Norwich City vs Sunderland Preview: Promotion hopefuls face-off in search of first league wins of the season

Norwich City face newly relegated Sunderland in the Championship this Sunday, as Carrow Road plays host to two sides who are hoping to make their Premier League return this season.

With both teams under new management, fans are looking forward to seeing how Daniel Farke and Simon Grayson will fare in their respective hotseats this season, and they're both aiming for their first league win on Sunday afternoon.

Canaries looking to return to the big time under new management

Following last season's disappointment of missing out on the play-offs after many tipped them as favourites for automatic promotion, Norwich have hired former Borussia Dortmund II boss Farke in an attempt to follow the blueprint laid out by Huddersfield last season, who achieved promotion under a former Dortmund II coach in David Wagner.

The Canaries salvaged a poin against Fulham at Craven Cottage last week after going a goal down in the 25th minute, before substitute Nélson Oliveira equalised in the 88th minute and proceeded to run over to his manager and point to the name on the back of his shirt in a move that voiced his displeasure at not starting the game in the first place.

Oliveira was not included in the squad that beat League Two side Swindon Town 3-2 in the Carabao Cup in midweek, and Farke avoided commenting on the striker's situation, saying "I don't want to speak about this topic" when questioned by the media.

Despite progressing to the next round of the tournament, Norwich showed that they can be troubled at Carrow Road as goalkeeper Angus Gunn prevented the tie from going to extra-time with several saves late on as the Robins chased the game.

Whether Oliveira will be included in the squad against the Black Cats remains to be seen, although with Farke stating that he "can't do without" the Portuguese striker fans should expect to see him in the starting eleven sooner rather than later.

Irish playmaker Wes Hoolahan has shown how important he is to Norwich inside the first two games with a goal and an assist, so expect him to be at the centre of the attack as he so often is on Sunday afternoon.

Black Cats instill some confidence with their recent performances

Contrary to what Sunderland fans became used to last season, the Black Cats have not given up so easily in their first two games of the season.

Going a goal down early on against Derby was something that would usually result in a three or four goal defeat last season, but Grayson has instilled some confidence and fight back into a side that was so devoid of it last season.

Lewis Grabban scored his first goal in a red and white shirt from the penalty spot as the hosts grew into the game and could have earned all three points had they taken their chances, but a point from their opening game gives Sunderland something to build on nevertheless.

A 1-0 win away at League One outfit Bury in midweek tided Grayson's side over into this weekend's fixture, with George Honeyman in particular impressing with a workmanlike display on the right wing that included his first Sunderland goal with a cool chipped finish.

The Wearsiders will be hoping for a repeat of their last visit to Carrow Road this weekend, a game in which they ran out 3-0 winners and effectively condemned Norwich to relegation for the Premier League, something they themselves followed a season later.

The last iteration of this fixture in the Championship however went the way of the hosts, as they won 1-0 thanks to a second-half striker from Robert Earnshaw.

Team news

The hosts are blessed with a clean bill of health ahead of Sunday's game, with the potential absence of Oliveira the only potential issue if he and Farke have not resolved that particular situation in time.

Sunderland are still without Duncan Watmore and Paddy McNair, who have both been on the treatment table since last season and are yet to make their return to the first-team.

Costa Rican full-back Bryan Oviedo is nearing a return after his injury problems and started for Sunderland U23s in their home fixture against Tottenham U23s on Friday night.

Predicted line-ups

Norwich City (3-5-2): Gunn; Martin, Franke, Zimmermann; Husband, Reed, Hoolahan, Vrancic, Wildschut; Jerome, Oliveira.

Sunderland (4-5-1): Steele; Jones, Browning, Kone, Galloway; Honeyman, Cattermole, Ndong, McGeady, Grabban; Vaughan.