Sunderland will be looking to leave their league form behind when they welcome Manchester City to the Stadium of Light in the Capital One Cup.
Optimism was high ahead of Sunderland’s first season under permanent charge of former interim manager Dick Advocaat, however they are currently rooted to the bottom of the Premier League without a win in their opening six matches of the league campaign and two woeful points.
Fans were optimistic after their opening defeats over Leicester City and Norwich City with impressive draws against Swansea City and Aston Villa ahead of the international break.
However their season was thrown right back into turmoil on their return after a 1-0 defeat to Tottenham Hotspur last week and another defeat this weekend to another newly-promoted side in Bournemouth with goals from Callum Wilson and Matt Richie giving them a 2-0 win.
The League cup has been a great distraction for the Black Cats over the last couple of years with six wins in their last seven league cup games on Wearside with 19 goals going in the process.
City grind to a halt
After an excellent start to the campaign, Manuel Pellegrini’s City have grinded to a halt within the past seven days.
Before this week, City were the inform side with five consecutive victories and five consecutive clean sheets which saw them riding high on the top of the table.
However it has been downhill since then with more European anguish midweek with a 2-1 defeat to Italian Champions Juventus. That carried over domestically at the weekend with Kevin de Bruyne’s first goal in a City shirt was cancelled out by goals from Victor Moses and Diafra Sakho giving West Ham a 2-1 victory.
Wes Brown could make his return to the starting XI after his poor form under Advocaat while John O’Shea is in a race against time as he looks to fully recover from illness.
Former Tottenham man Younes Kaboul will be absent after his dismissal at the weekend, DeAndre Yedlin could get his starting debut while Jack Rodwell and Jermain Defoe who made a difference in the last round against Exeter City could be called upon.
David Silva was injured in the warm up against the Hammers and could be unavailable as well as Vincent Kompany who has a similar problem which could see Nicolas Otamendi be brought in.
Pablo Zabaleta who has been out for over a month could be brought back in at the expense of Bacary Sagna while Eliaquim Mangala is a doubt for the match after going off injured at the weekend.