Sunderland take on Burnley in what is set to be a tense encounter in the North East as it brings together the two sides immediately above the bottom three.
Manager Gustavo Poyet has recently acknowledged that the Black Cats are not connecting with the club’s supporters, and he will be all too aware that his side must produce better here than in their last two home outings against Liverpool and Fulham, both of which saw the team booed off at the final whistle.
There were plenty of positives to draw on from the last Premier League at Tottenham, where they lost to a late goal, but Sunderland are now in a relegation battle due to their lack of wins and their failings in front of goal. Lose this, and they will be lucky to avoid falling into the drop zone.
The same fate awaits Burnley should they come away with nothing, and Sean Dyche’s men will be all too aware that it is situation all of their own making after contriving to squander a two-goal lead to lose at home to Crystal Palace last time out, having lost at Tottenham in the FA Cup in similar circumstances just days earlier.
However, they will be delighted with their position above the bottom three and would happily accept that when the season ends in May. They also come into this knowing that all the pressure will be on Sunderland, so the focus early on would be to unsettle the crowd.
Jack Rodwell is absent for Sunderland after his sending off against Fulham. Meanwhile, there are doubts over Wes Brown and Lee Cattermole.
Burnley are still without long-term absentees Matt Taylor and Stephen Ward along with Kevin Long, but veteran defender Michael Duff is back in contention.
See what the expert tipsters at OLBG are tipping on Sunderland