The Magpies will arrive at the Stadium of Light without a specialist left-back in their squad and with their summer-long search for a top-class striker still ongoing.
In addition, skipper Kevin Nolan, who demolished the Black Cats' dreams of derby success last season, and Jose Enrique have followed Andy Carroll through the exit door, while the outspoken Joey Barton's situation remains uncertain.
Black Catt: Lee Cattermole takes on ex-Toon defender Jose Enrique
By contrast, Steve Bruce, armed with a significant proportion of the proceeds from the sales of Darren Bent and Jordan Henderson, has been allowed to invest heavily once again, and has done so to the tune of 10 signings.
However, having played in Sunderland's 5-1 horror show at St James' Park last season and looked on helplessly as they scraped a draw at the death in the return, Cattermole is convinced they can take nothing for granted this time around.
He said: 'All their lads are all footballers, it doesn't matter what's going on at the club.
'Sunderland is a much healthier and much more stable club at the minute, but I don't think that really counts for anything when it comes to derby day.
Demolition derby: Newcastle players celebrate in the 5-1 thrashing at St James' Park last year
'They have got a squad of players who are all good players and we have got a good team as well and when it kicks off, it's that fast and furious, you maybe need a little bit of luck and you need eight out of the 11 to have good performances, and they will be needing the same.
'It's as simple as that, really. Hopefully with the lads we have brought in and the experience, and the experiences of last season, we will be able to go out and put a better performance in this year.'
Cattermole's view is shared by Bruce, who freely admits his team simply did not handle the derbies well enough last season.
Asked if he was pleased Nolan and Carroll in particular would not be involved this time around, he said: 'Yes, of course I am - but they have got players who are going to take their places, and Newcastle got a good result last week.
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'For all the hype that's built up, at the end of the day, it's Sunderland v Newcastle and whoever is on the pitch, there will be a fierce rivalry and some will handle it better than others.
'I honestly hope my team handles the occasion and we get the result we want.'
Cattermole and his midfield colleagues will find themselves in close contact with Barton, who featured heavily in the headlines once again last weekend after being stamped on by Arsenal midfielder Alex Song and then getting himself involved in a tussle with Gervinho which cost the striker a red card.
However, the Sunderland captain, himself no stranger to the game's officials, has some sympathy for the Newcastle man.
Bad boy: Joey Barton has earned a reputation
He said: 'We are both always at the centre of things. It's just over-hyped and once you get that over your head, people think that's how you are.
'With Joey, there were probably things in that game which should have been more talked about than his fall - he was stamped on in the first half.
'But he has been labelled as a wrong 'un and he has just got to try his best to get rid of it, and it's probably the same with me with the red cards.'
Bruce will make a late decision on hamstring victim John O'Shea, but is otherwise likely to make few changes to the side which drew 1-1 at Liverpool on the opening day of the campaign.
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