Sunderland vs Stoke - Premier League preview and team news
Wednesday 29 January 2014
Resurgent Sunderland will move out of the relegation zone for the first time since August with a win over Stoke City, who are sliding down the Premier League table.
The Black Cats will still be feeling jubilant coming into this game after their dramatic penalty shootout victory over Manchester United, a game where they hardly looked like a side battling relegation. They have since booked their place in the fifth round of the FA Cup, but Gustavo Poyet will be aware that his team must improve on their previous Premier League performance against Southampton.
Defeat here for Stoke will set alarm bells ringing, with the Potters having lost to another struggling side in Crystal Palace in their most recent Premier League outing. More worryingly, the performance that day was lethargic, despite manager Mark Hughes stressing the importance of the game prior to kick-off. A tough run of matches follow this, so losing could leave them in a very vulnerable position.
Sunderland are set to revert to the team which triumphed at Old Trafford, after Poyet made changes for the FA Cup tie with Kidderminster, but Kieren Westwood and Carlos Cuellar are still out.
Peter Odemwingie is set to be handed his Stoke debut after joining from Cardiff City. Robert Huth, Matthew Etherington and Andy Wilkinson are all long-term absentees.
See what the expert tipsters at OLBG are tipping on Sunderland v Stoke