Following Wigan’s dramatic victory at West Brom on Saturday, this match at the Stadium of Light suddenly appears a vital one not just for Sunderland, but for Stoke as well.
Two wins from Paolo Di Canio’s first three matches in charge looked to have put the Black Cats on the brink of safety. However, after their 6-1 hammering at Aston Villa last Monday night, the Wearsiders remain 17th in the table, just two points ahead of Wigan who importantly, have a game in hand on them.
Di Canio will be without key attacker Stephane Sessegnon as he begins his three-match suspension following his red card at Villa Park, another blow to an attack that will also be without the services of Steven Fletcher and Connor Wickham.
After looking in serious danger of dropping out of the top flight, Stoke have won their last two matches to take them to the relative safety of mid-table and 11th place. However, their current tally of 40 points still looks rather meagre as remarkably, a Sunderland victory on Monday night would put the Mackems level on points with Tony Pulis’ men.
The Potters have doubts over Marc Wilson, Andy Wilkinson and Glenn Whelan ahead of their trip to Wearside but apart from that, Pulis has a fully-fit squad to choose from.
See what the expert tipsters at OLBG are tipping on Sunderland