Sunderland predicted XI - Southampton: Can Allardyce's side stay out of the bottom three?

Sunderland escaped from the relegation zone midweek thanks to a draw against Crystal Palace, but could find themselves back in the bottom three come Saturday evening.

Sunderland predicted XI - Southampton: Can Allardyce's side stay out of the bottom three?
Will Allardyce name an unchanged side? (Photo: The Sun)

Despite tough times off the pitch, Sunderland managed to climb out of the relegation zone after a 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace

Although the Black Cats moved up the table, the performance was not as pleasing, and Sam Allardyce's side now face a testing trip to Southampton, who had been on a good run of form until losing their past two games.

Sunderland's only new injury concern is Lee Cattermole, who is ruled out after suffering a concussion which forced him off  against Crystal Palace. 

Unchanged XI?

With only Cattermole missing, Allardyce could name an unchanged side at St Mary's Stadium.

Photo: Stu Forster/Getty Images
Photo: Stu Forster/Getty Images

Cattermole was dropped for Tuesday's game, being replaced by the more attacking Jack Rodwell, who made an impact when coming on  as a sub in the 1-0 defeat to West Ham.

The former Manchester City and Everton midfielder was guilty of missing a couple of great chances in that game, but his attacking intent was rewarded at the expense of Cattermole, whose starting position is in threat in the long run following the arrival of Jan Kirchhoff.

Another option in the centre is Seb Larsson, who has recently returned from injury, but the Sweden international will most likely have to settle for a place on the bench.

Can the back four shut out the Saints?

On Sunderland's last trip to the South Coast, they suffered a humiliating 8-0 hammering.

The last thing Sunderland will want is another drubbing at the hands of the Saints. The Sunderland defence has not been as steady as Allardyce would have hoped, and Patrick Van Aanholt's defensive limitations have cost the Mackems on more than one occasion, including Sunderland's last away game where the left back was at fault for the only goal of the game.

Borini still on the bench?

Fabio Borini rescued a point for Allardyce on Tuesday, but the Italian will have to try and make an impact from off the bench again, with Wahbi Khazri and Dame N'Doye expected to continue outwide in support of Jermain Defoe.

The former England international is Sunderland's top goal scorer this season with 10, with Defoe's last goal coming in the 2-2 draw with Liverpool at Anfield, meaning that he has gone three games without a goal.

Predicted XI (4-3-3): Mannone; Yedlin, O'Shea, Kone, Van Aanholt; M'Vila, Rodwell, Kirchhoff; N'Doye, Defoe, Khazri.