New Sunderland manager Gus Poyet begins his reign with a difficult trip to Swansea City on Saturday.
The former Brighton and Hove Albion boss has had the luxury of an international break to settle into his new surroundings, but will be eager to take charge of his first match as Sunderland go in search of their first Premier League win this season.
Poyet may find a glimmer of hope in the fact that Swansea have not won in eight home matches - a record stretching back to March and the longest in the Premier League.
Swansea are also without a win against Sunderland since 1982, with three of the four Premier League clashes between the teams ending all square, including a forgettable goalless draw in January.
Sunderland have won just one point in seven matches this season, leading to the sacking of Paolo di Canio, and although they improved under caretaker manager Kevin Ball, they lost to both Liverpool and Manchester United.
In good news for Poyet, striker Steven Fletcher could be back in action on Saturday after missing almost a month with a shoulder injury.
"There is a big possibility," Poyet told the Sunderland Echo. "It's some of the very good news from this week.
"Every player is important but we know in football that there are a few positions that are key – the goalkeeper, the spine of the team and the main man up front scoring goals.
"We need goals, we need players who have got the ability and Fletcher is one of those players."
Fletcher has scored 12 goals in his 31 Premier League appearances for Sunderland, but Poyet may be without goalkeeper Keiren Westwood after he pulled out of the Republic of Ireland squad with a shoulder problem.
Defender Wes Brown is sidelined with a calf injury for Sunderland.
Swansea also have their injury issues, with Wales defenders Ashley Williams and Ben Davies to miss the fixture due to ankle and hamstring problems.
Midfielders Jonathan de Guzman and Pablo Hernandez are likely to return from injury issues of their own though, while Michu will feature after returning from a surprise international call-up for Spain.
Despite impressive form in the UEFA Europa League, Swansea have dropped to 15th in the Premier League table, making them desperate for a win on Saturday.
And given Sunderland's precarious position, a tense encounter is expected in South Wales.
|20||J. de Guzmán||58'|
|Coach: M. Laudrup|
for B. Davies 51'
for W. Bony 75'
for W. Routledge 82'
|Milligan: Australia targeting Asian Cup|
|Ronaldinho rules out retirement|
|Rodgers challenges Henderson|
|Jovetic can be City catalyst - Pellegrini|
|Janko joins Sydney as marquee|
|Deila ´unbelievably disappointed´ with Celtic|
|MLS Review: DC close on Sporting, Red Bulls hold RSL|
|Ecuadorian Primera A Review: Emelec crowned champions|
|Bolivar 1 San Lorenzo 0 (agg 1-5): Visitors advance to maiden Libertadores final|
|Gerrard open to move abroad|
|Lukaku tells Chelsea ´no hard feelings´|
|Zaha eager to impress Van Gaal|
|Liverpool down Man City after shoot-out|
|Atletico fall to Gonzalez´s penalty heroics|
|Glazers offer up 8m United shares|
|Bertrand joins Southampton on loan|
|Van Aanholt features as Sunderland fall to defeat|
|UEFA Champions League Review: Celtic hammered in Warsaw|
|Collison stakes his claim as QPR are held|
|Newcastle youngsters edge to Wednesday win|
|Villa beaten by buoyant Chesterfield|
|Juve held by new boys Cesena|
|Late Drinkwater strike helps Leicester see off Walsall|
|Everton seal club-record Lukaku deal|
|Lazio complete De Vrij capture|
|Fabregas opens account in Chelsea win|
|AFA president Grondona dies aged 82|
|Trezeguet heading for Indian Super League|
|Premier League to introduce vanishing foam|
|Rennes bring in Bruls|
|Kehl steps down as Dortmund captain|
|Capello: I´m staying until 2018|
|Pedro saddened by Fabregas departure|
|Fernandez agrees Porto switch|
|West Ham close on Jenkinson, says Allardyce|
|Donnelly out for three months|
|Chambers: It has been a whirlwind|
|Lukaku drops Chelsea exit hint|
|Mee signs new deal at Burnley|
|Lovren denied United States visa|
|Redknapp admits Fer interest|
|No official Cuadrado bids, insists agent|
|Maguire ready to make step up|
|Rodgers: Liverpool have a strategy in transfer market|
|Ki out to prove himself at Swansea|
|Garcia plays down importance of Real scalp|
|Evian complete Bruno signing|
|Poyet frustrated by lack of new faces|
|Mexes convinced Milan are improving|
|Mazzarri praises Inter attitude|
|Ronaldo could face Manchester United - Ancelotti|
|Tevez thanks fans after father found ´safe and well´|
|Gabi braced to tackle big-spending rivals|
|Shaw: I deserved Van Gaal criticism|
|Morinigo surprised by Gedoz substitution|
|Honduras appoint Medford|
|Van Gaal delighted with United display|
|Roma battle past Real Madrid|
|Simeone talks up Hernandez transfer|
|Defensor Sporting 1 Nacional Asuncion 0 (1-2 agg): Visitors into final despite loss|
|United edge Inter on penalties|
|Gerrard: It´s been ´the worst three months of my life´|
|Sabella set to quit Argentina post|
|Toure plans to see out career with City|
|Tevez´s father released after kidnapping|
|Benitez denies Callejon spat|
|Brownhill stunner downs Burnley|
|Sunderland edge out Recreativo|
|Barton and Hoilett earn QPR draw|
|UEFA Champions League Review: Lafata treble puts Sparta in command, Slovan beat Sheriff|
|Gomis opens Swansea account at Exeter|
|Schneiderlin hints at Southampton discontent|
|Scolari makes Gremio return|
|Bojan strike in vain as Schalke beat Stoke|
|Tevez to miss friendly amid kidnap reports|
|Porto sign Jose Angel from Roma|
|UEFA Europa League Preview: Trencin v Hull City|
|Liverpool land Origi|
|UEFA Europa League Preview: Torino return to Europe after 20-year absence|
|Rodriguez and Schneiderlin not for sale, say Southampton|
|Rakitic: Not all about front three|
|Barkley pens new Everton deal|
|Guardiola relishing Chivas friendly|
|Drogba targets Premier League glory|
|Hull make Maguire and Robertson double swoop|
|Perisic blow for Wolfsburg|
|Ibrahimovic scores hat-trick as PSG hammer Kitchee|
|Al-Hilal coach sacked over referee row|
|La Liga boss wants cream of the crop|
|Valencia granted work permit, completes West Ham move|
|Atletico complete deal for Griezmann|
|Reus focused on fitness battle despite ´major European interest´|
|Barcelona announce club-record revenue|
|Bony could be sold for right price, says Jenkins|
|Confidence key for Newcastle, says Taylor|
|Saivet out for four weeks with knee injury|
|Genk part company with Ferrera after just one game of season|
|Gold clarifies Twitter gaffe|
|Vidic adapting to different style at Inter|
|Toulouse bring in Matheus|
|Butragueno backs Rodriguez to cope with pressure|
|Benteke aiming to come back stronger|
|Valdez joins Frankfurt|
|Jovetic ready to shine|
|Simeone hails Griezmann qualities|
|Monk unsure over De Guzman future|
|Benitez: Michu will take time to adjust|
|Diaby confident of staying fit|
|Shaw not fit enough, says Van Gaal|
|MLS Preview: RSL look for attacking spark|
|Monk slaps ´astronomical´ price on Bony´s head|
|Australian clubs looking at Ronaldinho|
|Sinclair enjoying ´one of the best pre-seasons´|
|Spiranovic surgery a success|
|Seattle Sounders 0 Los Angeles Galaxy 3: First-half blitz fires Californians to victory|
|Lemina thrilled with Bielsa effect|
|Bayern´s Green chomping at the bit|
|Palace complete US tour with easy win|
|Carragher: Liverpool didn´t want me|
|Simeone: Atleti´s La Liga triumph was no fluke|
|Sturridge: ´I´ll step up´|
|Van Gaal: Formation gives United flexibility|
|Mathieu insists age is no barrier|
|Martinez the deal sealer, says Besic|
|Coaches embrace blockbuster Serie A start|