Three former Sunderland players return to the Stadium of Light for the first time since leaving with Anton Ferdinand, Nedum Onouha and Djibril Cisse all likely to be part of the Queens Park Rangers squad, while another ex-red and white star in the shape of Tommy Smith could also play some part.
One, of course, has already pulled on the colours of both clubs this season. Ferdinand was offloaded by former boss Steve Bruce at the end of the summer transfer window despite starting the season as the first choice centre-back at Sunderland alongside Wes Brown. The decision was taken to allow Ferdinand, who had been in and out of the side during his three years on Wearside since signing in 2008, to leave and he will be out to stop.
Smith, the striker-cum-midfielder, spent a season at Sunderland under Mick McCarthy in 2003-04 and helped the club to finish third in the Championship only to lose out in the play-off, but also enjoyed a run to the FA Cup semi-finals include netting the winner in the quarter-final.
Then there are the relative newcomers to the QPR relegation fight – Onouha and Cisse have joined in January. Onouha was on loan at Sunderland last season with his season-long spell in the north-east noted for that opener in the 3-0 win over Chelsea, while Cisse was also a loan signing with the Frenchman’s 10 goals including strikes in victories of Tottenham and, of course, the old enemy up the road.
John Byrne and Clive Walker, both noted for cup runs with Sunderland, are two other players to have played for QPR during their careers. Byrne was the man who netted in every round of the FA Cup in 1992 to reach an unlikely final, although the Republic of Ireland striker missed out in the Wembley showpiece itself as we were beaten 2-0 by Liverpool. Walker also endured Wembley misery in 1985 with his penalty miss proving crucial as Sunderland lost the Milk Cup final 1-0 to Norwich. Byrne had starred for QPR between 1984 and 1988, three years before joining Sunderland, while Walker was sold to the west Londoners when leaving Roker Park in 1986. Several other strikers have played for both clubs including Danny Dichio, the giant frontman who came through the ranks at QPR before arriving at the Stadium of Light in 1998 via Sampdoria. Dichio helped life the Championship title in his first season and played his part in two seventh place Premier League finishes before being sold to West Brom.
Brett Angell was another forward to represent both Sunderland and QPR, although fans are unlikely to remember him for his goalscoring exploits after he found the net just one during his time with both clubs. Angell, a £600,000 signing from Everton, netted once for Sunderland in 11 appearances in the 1995-96 season, while he ended his career at QPR in the 2002-03 season, playing 13 times with scoring for the hoops.
Back in the 1930s, Scottish international Joe Devine played for both Sunderland and QPR, while two decades later England international Mike Hellawell did the same having started out with the Londoners prior to moving to the north-east following a long stint with Birmingham City. In the 1970s, flying Welsh winger Leighton James spent a season at QPR prior to play 52 times for Sunderland between 1983 and 1984. Richard Ord, meanwhile, joined QPR in 1998 when sold by Peter Reid but the popular defender never played a game for the Londoners after suffering a pre-season injury which would eventually end his career after two years on the sidelines.
Pascal Chimbonda, the defender signed by Roy Keane in 2008, only lasted half-a-season at Sunderland before being sold back to Tottenham who had sold him as part of a three-man deal with Steed Malbranque and Teemu Tainio. He played 13 times, but in a similar six-month stint as QPR last season he starred only three times in the promotion campaign before leaving Loftus Road.