The Sunderland legend was speaking at the announcement of next season's Championship fixtures
Sunderland legend and former interim manager Kevin Ball says the club's opening fixtures of this year's Championship campaign are "wonderful".
Still managerless and facing a takeover from investors, Sunderland will be face Derby County in their opening game of the season.
They'll then have back-to-back away games against Norwich City and Sheffield Wednesday - the latter of which finished in the top four last season.
Their fourth game of the season will see them welcome one of last year's promotion challengers, Leeds United.
Despite the tough start, Ball says it's exactly what the club need to re-energise the club.
"I think [Derby County] is a fantastic opening game," he told Sky Sports. "We've got a home game and the fact that it's a Friday night to kick off the season, I think we'll get a full house.
"That for me what makes it even greater. Our fans always have a fantastic contingency travelling away. They'll thoroughly enjoy it. The first games are always tough no matter who you're up against because you're trying to find your level."
He continued: "After things that have happened in recent seasons, you think how does that affect you? Do you get a hangover [after relegation] and does it affect the first few games?
"From being at the club before and experienced that a few times before I can say that it does happen. The one thing you need to do is stay resilient."