Sunderland will be hoping to follow up their latest Tyne-Wear derby triumph with another home victory, this time against in-form Crystal Palace.
Jermain Defoe was brought to the North East in January to solve Sunderland’s problems in front of goal, and although it his has still been a struggle, the former England star’s quality was there for all to see as his stunning volley proved enough to secure a fifth straight win over Newcastle United.
The Black Cats will surely carry huge momentum going into the remaining seven games, and that could be vital given that their lead over the bottom three is still only three points. Dick Advocaat will be keen to ensure that it is not a case of after the lord mayor’s show, but the team now possesses some long-awaited attacking threat.
No team in the Premier League will relish an encounter with Crystal Palace at present, especially after Manchester City were added to their recent list of victims on Monday evening. The Eagles’s resurgence under Alan Pardew means a top half finish is now very much within reach.
It was a superb rearguard action which enabled them to see off the champions, as well as an ability to take their chances when they arrived. Glenn Murray is making up for lost time in the Premier League and added to his growing tally, while Jason Puncheon has rediscovered his form from the end of last season.
Ricky Alvarez is out for Sunderland along with the suspended Sebastian Larsson and long-term absentees Wes Brown and Emanuele Giaccherini.
Crystal Palace have Mile Jedinak back from suspension and are close to having midfielder Jordon Mutch back available, but are still without Fraizer Campbell and Marouane Chamakh. Joe Ledley will be assessed.
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