The Europa League has stretched Everton to its limits this season, and the Toffees now have a Premier League road trip following their 3-0 win over Lille at Goodison Park on Thursday.
They hit the road to the Stadium of Light to take on Sunderland at 8:30am ET live on Premier League Extra Time or live online at NBC Sports Live Extra.
Up top for the Toffees is Romelu Lukaku once again, who starts three days after playing the full 90 against Lille, alongside Samuel Eto’o. Roberto Martinez did rest Seamus Coleman and Ross Barkley midweek and both are in the lineup today.
On the other end, Jozy Altidore will have to wait for his chance to face USMNT teammate Tim Howard, as he starts on the bench for Sunderland with Gus Poyet favoring Darren Fletcher and Connor Wickham up front.
Also lying in wait for Sunderland is former Everton man Jack Rodwell who made 85 appearances for the club before moving to Manchester City in ultimately a failed attempt at advancing his career. The midfielder is on the bench as well against his former club.
It’s a bit surprising he’s on the bench, considering Lee Cattermole is out suspended for yellow card accumulation (to the surprise of no one), and in his stead is Adam Johnson and Liam Bridcutt into the midfield.
Sunderland have pulled themselves out of the relegation zone last weekend, but would like to put some distance between themselves and the muddy bottom of the table, being one of seven teams within five points of the bottom of the table. Meanwhile Everton sit just a point above that bunch in 10th position, and could jump into the top six with a win.
Sunderland: Pantilimon; Vergini, Reveillere, Brown, O’Shea; Bridcutt, Larsson, Gomez, Johnson; Wickham, Fletcher.
Bench: Rodwell, Altidore, Mavrias, Graham, Buckley, T Robson, Mannone.
Everton: Howard; Coleman, Jagielka, Distin, Baines; McCarthy, Barry; McGeady, Barkley; Eto’o, Lukaku.
Bench: Hibbert, Gibson, Naismith, Besic, Atsu, Osman, Robles.