Manchester City will be expected to win comfortably at the Stadium of Light on Sunday, but they will be all too aware of the fact that they have lost on each of their last three visits.
Sunderland have begun to show signs of improvement under Gustavo Poyet, who has overseen a victory over rivals Newcastle United in the Premier League and another against Southampton in the Capital One Cup on Wednesday. However, they remain badly in need of some points as they are currently five points from safety, and their position did not improve at Hull, where they battled hard, but finished with nine men and no points.
Manuel Pellegrini has already gone one better than predecessor Roberto Mancini in the Champions League, guiding them into the knockout stages with two group games still to spare. Sergio Aguero and Alvaro Negredo’s partnership is beginning to look devastating as Man City continue to score plenty of goals, but they cannot afford to drop more points having lost three times in the league already this season.
For Sunderland, Wes Brown could make his long-awaited return to Premier League action after completing the full 90 minutes against Southampton. The Black Cats are still waiting on the fitness of goalkeeper Kieren Westwood, while Lee Cattermole and Andrea Dossena are both suspended.
Captain Vincent Kompany is still missing for Man City, and striker Stevan Jovetic is a doubt after missing the last two games.
See what the expert tipsters at OLBG are tipping on Sunderland