Watford - Sunderland preview: Safe Black Cats looking to enjoy their season finale

The Wearsiders travel to Vicarage Road on the final day of the Premier League season.

Watford - Sunderland preview: Safe Black Cats looking to enjoy their season finale
Photo: VAVEL UK/Jonny Walsh

After securing survival in midweek, Sunderland will be looking to enjoy their final Premier League game of the season at Watford on Sunday.

Sunderland can rest easy coming into this one as for the third season running they sealed their Premier League status in the penultimate game of the season with a 3-0 home win over Everton on Wednesday. Defender Lamine Kone became the unlikely hero in that vital game, scoring a brace in the fixture.

Surge to survival

It's been a real strong effort from Sunderland to once again avoid the drop by the skin of their teeth, especially over the last 10 games.

The last couple of months of the season have only seen Sam Allardyce's team lose once in 10 games - and that was to Champions Leicester City. They've certainly done it the Allardyce way by making themselves hard to beat, which perhaps showed with plenty of draws in the run-in.

However, back-to-back wins over Chelsea and Everton in front of sell out home crowds and a bit of help from relegation rivals Norwich City and Newcastle United have seen them beat the drop once again, while securing even more financial revenue for the club, who are currently on a decade long stint in the top flight.

Giving the youngsters a chance

Allardyce has already revealed he has called up three under-21 players into the first team squad for the season finale at Vicarage Road.

One would expect a different look to a side who've been unchanged for the past seven games then. A couple of players could well be saying goodbye to the club on Sunday too, with loanees and players out of contract set to be included.

Young Jordan Pickford is set to replace Vito Mannone in goal tomorrow. (Photo: Getty)
Young Jordan Pickford is set to replace Vito Mannone in goal tomorrow. (Photo: Getty)

Opponents view

Watford's build-up to this game has been dominated by off the field activity, with Quique Sanchez Flores set to leave the Hornets at the end of the season.

This has seen the bold Watford board make another brave decision to relieve a manager, one who has guided the club to 13th in the league and an FA Cup semi-final, despite them being one of the favourites for the drop.

Team news

As well as backup goalkeeper Jordan Pickford, the other youngsters added to the matchday squad for Sunderland this weekend are George Honeyman, Tommy Robson, Liam Agnew and Rees Greenwood.

DeAndre Yedlin and Yann M'Vila could well be playing their last games for the club as their respective season long loan deals expire after this game, though Allardyce is keen for negotiations with the latter to start as soon as possible.

Flores is set to name a strong squad for his farewell outing, with midfielders Valon Berhami and Etienne Capoue the only unavailable players through injury. 

The statistics

Watford's win on Wearside earlier in the season ended a run of six straight league games without a victory against Sunderland.

Only West Ham United have stopped Sunderland scoring in their last 13 away league games.

A league low eight different players have scored for Watford this season.