Rock-bottom Sunderland begin the festive period with an important home game against Norwich City, who have double the number of points as the Black Cats.
Gustavo Poyet’s side should come into this game with great confidence, however, after a rousing comeback against Chelsea saw them book a Capital One Cup semi-final against Manchester United. In the league, their position remains precarious, but performances are good with their recent failure to convert draws into wins proving frustrating for fans of the Wearsiders.
Norwich’s form has improved considerably since their 7-0 drubbing at hands of Manchester City at the beginning of November. Only a fine late stop from Swansea goalkeeper Michel Vorm prevented them from taking their fourth win from six games and moving into the top half of the Premier League, and the upturn has helped to ease the pressure on manager Chris Hughton.
Vito Mannone looks set to deputise in goal again for Sunderland with Kieren Westwood still injured. The hosts are also without defender Carlos Cuellar, who has a hip injury.
Robert Snodgrass should return for Norwich along with striker Ricky van Wolfswinkel, but Elliott Bennett and Anthony Pilkington are still out. Midfielder Alexander Tettey is also missing with an ankle injury.
See what the expert tipsters at OLBG are tipping on Sunderland