Sunderland’s League One campaign continues with a trip to Luton Town this afternoon, but what should the Black Cats expect?
Nathan Jones’ side bulldozed their way to promotion from League Two last season with their attractive brand of attacking football proving effective.
The trip to Kenilworth Road will be a challenging one for Jack Ross’ men, but who should the Scot be particularly wary of?
Here’s three of the Hatters’ key players that Sunderland will need to watch carerfully:
22-year-old Stacey was heavily linked with a move away from Luton this summer, with West Brom thought to be leading the line of admirers.
But no such exit transpired, meaning the Hatters still stand to benefit from the full-backs undoubted ability.
Formerly of Reading, Stacey began his career as a winger but made the transition to right-back upon arriving at Kenilworth Road in 2017.
His first, and only, season at the club was a strong one as he racked up 45 appearances and earned himself a slot in the League Two team of the season.
While Stacey is strong and uncompromising at the back, his real strength comes at the other end of the pitch where his pinpoint delivery supplies Luton’s frontmen with plenty of ammunition.
He’s known to chip in with the odd goal, too, so expect him to be a thorn in the side of Sunderland’s backline.
Attacking midfielder Grant only joined the Hatters this summer but is sure to be a key part of Jones’ plans.
The 23-year-old has agreed a season-long loan switch from Nottingham Forest have enjoyed a similar spell at Notts County last year.
During his time at Meadow Lane, Grant became one of the most feared attackers in League Two with his tricky feet and eye for goal making him a nightmare for defenders.
Comfortable playing out wide or just behind the strikers, Grant netted 19 times for the Magpies last season - and that form prompted Luton to make their move this summer.
His movement and skill are sure to cause Sunderland some problems, and whichever backline Jack Ross opts to start with will have their hands full.
Hylton returns from suspension in time to make the squad for the visit of Sunderland - and could well be handed a starting place from the off.
Tall, physical and robust, the striker has done the rounds in the lower leagues and, at 29, is enjoying some of the best years of his career at Kenilworth Road.
He netted 23 times in 43 games last season as Luton secured promotion from the fourth tier, and Hylton will now be keen to prove himself at a higher level.
The striker will provide a test quite unlike any that Sunderland’s defenders may have faced before. His aforementioned strength and aggression make him difficult to deal with and he is lethal given a sight of goal.
Sunderland will need to watch him carefully throughout and ensure he doesn’t get even a sniff of goal.