Sunderland vs Bolton Wanderers Preview: Second bottom meet rock bottom in Championship relegation six-pointer

The Championship's two bottom sides clash on Tuesday evening in what is already seen as a relegation six-pointer despite only being the 15th game of the season.

Sunderland vs Bolton Wanderers Preview: Second bottom meet rock bottom in Championship relegation six-pointer
Sunderland lost at home to Bristol City on Saturday afternoon. (Photo: Ian Horrocks / Getty Images)

Sunderland host Bolton Wanderers at the Stadium of Light on Tuesday evening with both sides desperately looking for a win in order to kick-start their season.

The Black Cats are a place above their opponents in 23rd with two points separating the two in the Championship, meaning they would swap places should the Trotters come away from Wearside with three points.

Sunderland unable to shake off unwanted home record

Sunderland's defeat at the hands of Bristol City on Saturday means they are yet to win at the Stadium of Light in 2017 and have won just once this season - an away win at Norwich City in August.

The Black Cats have had no issues putting the ball in the back of the net and have scored 17 this season, the problem seems to be keeping it out at the other end, conceding 27 goals.

Simon Grayson's side have not kept a clean sheet in the league since beating Hull City 2-0 at the KCOM Stadium in May, when the two were still Premier League outfits.

Lewis Grabban and Aiden McGeady remain threats in attack, with the on-loan striker netting six goals so far this season while winger McGeady has four strikes to his name as well as three assists.

Grayson remains sure of his ability to guide the club back to better times despite their precarious position, saying he has "100% confidence" in himself before adding that "there aren't better or experienced managers out there that would want this job".

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Trotters staring at an instant return to League One 

Sunderland's opponents on Tuesday are the only side in the division that have fared worse than them this season, with Bolton rock bottom of the Championship with just seven points to their name from 14 games.

The Trotters have improved in recent weeks however, ending their 11-match winless run with a win over Sheffield Wednesday before going on to draw with QPR and Fulham, with the latter seconds away from being a second win of the season but for Tom Cairney's 94th minute equaliser.

Their sole clean sheet of the season came in 0-0 draw against Birmingham City in August, and as well as leaking goals they have not exactly been proficient in front of goal, scoring just eight league goals.

Strikers Gary Madine and Sammy Ameobi are the only Trotters players to have scored more than once in the league this term, while the latter's Newcastle past means a goal from him would have an added edge.

Manager Phil Parkinson has a renewed sense of optimism going into the game, saying "belief has come back into the players" following their three-match unbeaten run, adding that "the players will relish the challenge" at Sunderland.

Team news

Sunderland have the same squad available as they did on Saturday, with defender Tyias Browning set to miss out with the hamstring problem that has plagued him in recent weeks.

Wanderers may be forced into a couple of changes from the weekend as Andy Taylor picked up a back problem, while Ameobi was forced off with cramp during the second half.

Antonee Robinson, Craig Noone and former Sunderland winger Will Buckley are all in contention for Tuesday's game.

Predicted line-ups

Sunderland (4-5-1): Steele; Jones, O'Shea, Koné, Oviedo; Watmore, Ndong, McNair, Honeyman, McGeady; Grabban.

Bolton Wanderers (4-2-3-1): Alnwick; Robinson, Beevers, Wheater, Little; Pratley, Henry; Armstrong, Le Fondre, Ameobi; Madine.