Stoke v SAFC

Preview: Sunderland v Stoke

by Ashley Houghton

A look ahead to tonight's game at the SoL (KO 8pm)

Sunderland host Stoke City tonight looking to return to winning ways.

Paolo Di Canio’s side had won two consecutive games with wins over Newcastle United and Everton but last Monday’s defeat at Villa Park has left the Black Cats looking to reach the 40-point mark with three games remaining.

Tony Pulis’ Stoke were in the relegation battle at the start of the April but wins over rivals QPR and Norwich have seen the Potters put some daylight between themselves and the drop zone.

The Wearside outfit will be looking to maintain a fine home record against Stoke; the Potters haven’t won on Wearside since 1994 and they’ve also failed to score on their last four visits.

The Potters have won only twice on their travels this season – picking up just 12 points from a possible 48 away from home.

The Staffordshire side have also struggled to find the net on a regular basis this campaign, and they have scored the lowest amount of goals away from home in the Premier League with only 11 strikes on their travels.

A win for the Potters could move them as high as ninth whilst the Black Cats could move above Stoke into 11th if they pick up the three points.

Sunderland will be without Stephane Sessegnon for the clash with the Potters as the Beninese international failed in his appeal against his straight red card at Villa Park last week.

Steven Fletcher, Lee Cattermole and Wes Brown are all long-term absentees whilst Connor Wickham remains doubtful.

Stoke will run the rule over Glenn Whelan, Andy Wilkinson and Mark Wilson before the game.

Last six between the two sides:

Stoke 0 – 0 Sunderland – 27/10/2012

Stoke 0 – 1 Sunderland – 04/02/2012

Sunderland 4 – 0 Stoke – 18/09/2011

Stoke 3 – 2 Sunderland – 05/02/2011

Sunderland 2 – 0 Stoke – 06/11/2010

Sunderland 0 – 0 Stoke – 01/02/2010