Second-from-bottom Sunderland take on fellow strugglers Crystal Palace in what is a crucial game for both sides as they look to avoid relegation.
This is Sunderland’s first league match since a disappointing effort at Arsenal on February 22. Since then, they have battled in vain to win the Capital One Cup at Wembley, and also seen their FA Cup run come to an emphatic end at Hull City. Now manager Gustavo Poyet can focus on the main objective – keeping the club in the Premier League, so this is a must-win game for the Black Cats.
Tony Pulis’ visitors would be reasonably content if they come away with a share of the spoils, but things have been more of a struggle in recent weeks. Mistakes have condemned the Eagles to defeat in their last two Premier League home matches against Manchester United and Southampton, leaving them just two points clear of danger, and three above their opponents.
Sunderland are set to make several changes to the team which started at Hull, but goalkeeper Kieren Westwood is still out with a shoulder injury.
Marouane Chamakh is the only injury absentee for Crystal Palace, with the Moroccan set to be out for at least another week with a hamstring problem.
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