Sunderland face a swift return to action on Saturday as they travel to Nottingham Forest (KO 3pm).
Chris Coleman has urged his side to respond following a bitterly disappointing Boxing Day showing at Bramall Lane, but they will have to do so without top scorer Lewis Grabban.
Read all you need to know ahead of the game here…
NINE RULED OUT
If you didn’t think Sunderland’s injury woes could get any worse, you were wrong. The Black Cats are already without Lamine Kone, Lee Cattermole, Jack Rodwell, Paddy McNair, Didier Ndong, Jonny Williams and Duncan Watmore, while Billy Jones and Bryan Oviedo lack match fitness and Darron Gibson is playing through a groin problem, and they’ve been joined in the treatment room by Ty Browning and Lewis Grabban. Browning is a major doubt for Saturday’s game while Grabban is likely to miss it and the New Year’s Day clash against Barnsley. Coleman admits he may have to revert to two central defenders at the City Ground, while also selecting a starting XI with one eye on Barnsley 72 hours later.
BOXING DAY TO FORGET
Nottingham Forest’s Boxing Day was as disappointing as Sunderland’s, as Mark Warburton’s side fell to a 3-0 defeat to Sheffield Wednesday. Like Coleman, the Forest boss has demanded a response this weekend and warned his side they can’t afford to produce another under-par performance. Forest currently sit 11th in the Sky Bet Championship and they overcame the Black Cats earlier in the season, as Daryl Murphy scored a late winner at the Stadium of Light. They don’t draw many – just one of their league games has ended level all season – and they win (10) almost as many as they lose (13), so there is an air of unpredictability about the game.
FORMER BLACK CATS
Murphy isn’t the only familiar face within the Forest ranks with a number of former Black Cats currently plying their trade at the City Ground. Liam Bridcutt, who spent two years on Wearside between 2014 and 2016, has been a regular fixture in the Forest midfield following a summer move from Leeds United, and he’s likely to start on Saturday. Meanwhile, both Murphy and David Vaughan will be hoping for recalls after missing the Boxing Day defeat against Wednesday. Murphy has scored seven goals this campaign – only Kieran Dowell has more for Forest – and Vaughan, who made 59 appearances on Wearside during a three-year spell, has made 11 appearances this season, including a start on 23 December in a 1-1 draw with Preston North End.
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