Neil Warnock expects Chris Coleman to be given a warm reception on his return to the Cardiff City Stadium.
The Bluebirds manager has guided his side to third in the Sky Bet Championship, but he’s keen to see them returning to winning ways following four successive league defeats.
Cardiff emerged as 2-1 winners when the sides met in September at the Stadium of Light, but Sunderland have improved under Coleman and picked up three wins since the Welshman took charge in November.
And despite the club’s differing fortunes, Warnock refused to underestimate the Black Cats.
“[Chris Coleman] deserves a good reception as he did a fantastic job with the Welsh team.
“They’ve got some good players, some from the Premier League, but you couldn’t say we’ve had an easy game this year.”
He continued: “A lot depends on how we play, really.
“At the moment we’re a bit thin in midfield, we’re not scoring goals and we’re conceding, so we’re in disarray and we had to work hard on the training ground, but disarray and still third in the table – you’d take that.
“2017 was probably as good a year as I’ve ever had but we want to start 2018 well, so we have to work hard on the training ground and kick on.
“It’s a big game for both clubs, we want to get back to winning ways and they want to get out of the bottom three.”
Warnock also revealed he was close to managing Sunderland once upon a time, admitting he should have ‘got in the taxi and gone’.
“I once had an opportunity to go there and wouldn't walk out on Notts County I think it was at the time.
"When I look back I should've just got in a taxi and gone, it's a great club.”