Potters looking to build on Manchester United point
Mark Hughes’ will be looking to carry their form from before the international break, following a resilient performance at title hopefuls, Manchester United, where they came away with a deserved point.
The performances from the Hughes’ side have only improved after doubt was cast over his position from fans over social media. However, with the backing of club chairman Peter Coates they have halted the sinking ship and are now only looking upwards, despite currently being in 19th, only above the weekend visitors to the Potteries.
The Potters will be confident of getting their first victory in front of the home crowd, and with a favourable run of fixtures, this could be the kick-start the surge up the table, where they are more commonly found under Hughes and co.
Potters sweating over Allen fitness
They may however, have to do this without £13 million man, Joe Allen, who has picked up a slight hamstring injury away on international duty. This would be a blow to himself, after netting in three games on the bounce for club and country.
His equaliser away at Old Trafford meant Stoke broke a record lasting since 1980, of avoiding defeat at Manchester United. However, the Stoke midfield will also be weakened, as his tenacity off the ball will be sorely missed.
Allen has been the shining light in dark start to the season for Stoke, leaving fans baffled as to why Jürgen Klopp decided to let him leave Liverpool. His ability to win the ball high up the pitch may be crucial against a seemingly laboured Sunderland midfield, allowing Stoke to counter quickly.
Grant in at number one
Lee Grant will also be looking to keep his place in the side after his heroics against Manchester United last time out and will be looking the continue this vein of form back to the bet365.
The on-loan Derby County, shot stopper made save after save, only being beaten by the €50 million man, Anthony Marital following a fantastic curled after into the top right corner, only a stroke of genius could beat Grant that day and Stoke fans will be hoping for more of the same.
Both teams need a win
A win for the Potters would lift them out of the relegation zone and into 16th, providing other results went in their favour. This would ease tension around the Potteries after talk of relegation being rife.
A loss for Sunderland would push manager David Moyes even closer to the unemployment line again, after failing to register a win yet this campaign, only managing a 1-1 draw against West Brom last time out. However, after remaining unbeaten against Hughes’ side last season the Black Cats will be making the journey south confident of being able to take at least a point back to Wearside.