It proves to be a massive week for Sunderland as they play host to promotion hopefuls, Aston Villa on Tuesday night.
The Black Cats come into the game off a 1-1 draw away to Millwall, their third draw in four league matches, which on the face of it looks to be a good result, however Sunderland find themselves bottom of the league and in a position where draws are not enough.
Aston Villa are at the complete opposite end of the scale. Eight wins in their last ten league matches and four points off the automatic promotion places, the Villans are looking to secure their place back in the Premier League at the second time of asking.
Sunderland will be without loanee Jake Clarke-Salter, as he serves the second of his three game suspension and will remain without Duncan Watmore, who is suffering from a long-term knee injury.
Villa will sweat over the availability of Jack Grealish and Alan Hutton, both of whom are suffering from niggling injuries. They will find solace in the fact they have Axel Tuanzebe back available to help cover the potential gap left by Hutton.
Lewis Grabban will return to the Stadium of Light for the first time on Tuesday after spending the first half of the season on loan there, bagging 12 times for the relegation strugglers. Grabban has continued his fine goal-scoring form since joining Villa, scoring twice in four appearances for the Villans.
Villa have constantly looked to Albert Adomah for inspiration this season and he has been key in their promotion push, with the Ghanaian leading the way for Villa in the goalscoring charts with 13 so far.
Villa won the first fixture
The previous meeting between the two sides was Chris Coleman’s first game in charge at Sunderland and ended in a 2-1 defeat for the Black Cats. Despite the result, this game saw a dramatic change in performance from Sunderland and showed their potential to stay in the league. Goals from Albert Adomah and Josh Onomah gave Villa the three points, with Grabban’s late strike not enough to get Sunderland anything.
The hosts have only beaten Villa once in the last 11 meetings between the sides (L5, D5). Villa have put 19 past their opponents in that time, compared to Sunderland’s nine.