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Preview: Stoke v Sunderland

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safc.com previews the Black Cats' trip to the Potteries.

The Black Cats will look to win back-to-back league games for the first time this season when they travel to Stoke City on Saturday.

Gus Poyet’s side travel to the Britannia Stadium following their fine 1-0 win over Manchester City last time out and a win over a Potters side they haven’t lost to in their last four meetings could potentially move Sunderland outside the relegation zone for only the second time this campaign.

The Uruguayan will take heart from the Black Cats’ solid record against Stoke which has seen the Wearsiders pick up 15 points in their matches with the Potters since the Staffordshire side were promoted to the Barclays Premier League in the 2008-09 season. In fact, Sunderland have only won more points against Bolton Wanderers (17) in that time.

Poyet’s former Chelsea teammate and neighbour, Mark Hughes, has been in charge of Stoke for six months and, despite a positive start, the Potters are now on a six-game winless run in all competitions.

The last meeting between the two sides was back in May when John O’Shea’s second-half equaliser earned the Black Cats a valuable point in their quest for survival.

By scoring that goal, O’Shea preserved his own unbeaten record against the Potters with the Republic of Ireland winning six and drawing two of the matches he has featured against Stoke during his career with both Manchester United and Sunderland.

Lee Cattermole and Andrea Dossena will both serve the final match of their respective three match bans with Poyet otherwise unhindered in his team selection.

The Potters could also be at full strength, though, Steven Ireland is doubtful.

Saturday’s meeting will be the 142nd between the two sides with the Black Cats winning nearly 44% with 62 successes compared to Stoke’s 43 wins whilst there have been 36 draws.