Saturday’s opponents at the Stadium of Light are separated by a mere point on the table, and both are very much in the drop zone picture with 10 matches to play (Watch live, 11 a.m. ET and online via Live Extra).
Sunderland sits in 16th with 26 points, while Aston Villa is just behind with 25. Both Gus Poyet’s and Tim Sherwood’s squads will hope to earn some breathing room from each other — and relegation — with a win.
Scott Sinclair and Christian Benteke will be a big part of Villa’s starting attack, while Jermain Defoe gets Steven Fletcher as a running mate for the home side.
Sunderland: Pantilimon, Reveillere, van Aanholt, Brown, O’Shea (c), Bridcutt, Larsson, Rodwell, Alvarez, Defoe, Fletcher. Subs: Jones, Wickham, Gomez, Graham, Coates, Vergini, Mannone.
Aston Villa: Guzan, Lowton, Okore, Clark, Bacuna, Delph (c), Cleverley, Sinclair, N’Zogbia, Benteke, Agbonlahor. Subs: Given, Gil, Sanchez, Kinsella, Weimann, Westwood, Hepburn-Murphy.