M Salut writes: at a chilly Victoria Park last night, Pete Sixsmith took a good look at the 17 players used by Simon Grayson as he assessed our chances of mounting a serious challenge for promotion. Sunderland won 2-1, but impressed few of those who have had their say already about what seems to have been a ponderous, uncreative performance.
The bookies say the Championship is regarded by many as more exciting than the Premier League, given the golden prize of promotion. Those who feel we stand a chance will see plenty of opportunities, as the season develops, at dailyenhanced.co.uk to back their belief with a flutter.
Meanwhile, let Sixer apply his forensic touch to events at Hartlepool 1-2 Sunderland …
Twelve months ago, we pitched up at Victoria Park with a team that included Vito Mannone, Younes Kaboul, Patrick van Aanholt, Fabio Borini and Jermain Defoe. We cruised into a 3-0 lead, took the nucleus of the Great Escape Vol 4 off at half time and looked like a team heading for the upper echelons of the Premier League.