Phil Parkinson is relishing Sunderland’s first away game of the 2020-21 campaign.
After opening the season with a 1-1 draw last time out, the Lads will be looking to earn three points when they face Oxford United today at the Kassam Stadium.
The U’s, likewise, will also be looking to post a first win on the board, having lost 2-0 to Lincoln City in their league opener before exiting the Carabao Cup on Tuesday via a penalty shootout defeat to Watford.
Parkinson will be unable to call upon George Dobson following his red card against Bristol Rovers, while Oxford boss Karl Robinson could reportedly be without a number of key players.
The Sunderland boss is expecting a challenging game at the Kassam Stadium, though, and has tipped the R’s to name a strong side.
“The last time we went there, they spoke about how many injuries they had and when we turned up, there weren’t quite as many, so we won’t get lulled into that,” said Parkinson.
“I believe that if we play how we can play, and have done, but improve in the final third, we will have a great chance.”
He continued: “I went down to see the game on Tuesday and they really should have won it in normal time, but it ended going to penalties.
“They will be frustrated about the defeat to Lincoln. They had a lot of the ball and dominated possession, but came away with nothing.
“We know they’ve got some decent players, but we went there last year and got a victory.
“The first five or six games are very important, and we want to make sure we’re right at the top of the table.”