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[Archived] Sunderland Preview


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Sunderland v Blackburn

Stadium of Light Date: Friday, 26 December

Kick-off: 1500 GMT

Sunderland striker El-Hadji Diouf faces a fitness test as he has been on leave this week as his wife gave birth.

Otherwise, caretaker boss Ricky Sbragia has no new injury or suspension worries as he seeks a third straight win.

Blackburn manager Sam Allardyce is likely to keep faith with the same squad which won their first Premier League match in 12 attempts last week.

Striker Roque Santa Cruz remains out with the calf injury which forced him to miss the 3-0 win over Stoke.

Sunderland (from): Fulop, Colgan, Bardsley, Chimbonda, Ferdinand, Nosworthy, Collins, Malbranque, Whitehead, Richardson, Tainio, Leadbitter, Edwards, Miller, Yorke, Reid, Henderson, Colback, Diouf, Cisse, Jones, Murphy, Healy.

Blackburn (from): Robinson, Brown, Simpson, Ooijer, Samba, Nelsen, Olsson, Emerton, Warnock, Mokoena, Dunn, Tugay, Treacy, Pedersen, Roberts, Derbyshire, Villanueva, McCarthy, Andrews.

Blackburn manager Sam Allardyce ahead of his second game in charge of Rovers:

"I'm very excited and obviously pleased that we managed to get off to a winning start because that was really important.

"As we all know, the players included, that is only a small hurdle we've been able to overcome; we now need to be able to string together a number of results and an undefeated run, starting with two very important games against Sunderland away and Manchester City at Ewood."

A few interesting facts;

Sunderland have lost their last five home league games against North-West clubs; Blackburn have won their last nine in the North-East.

Blackburn travel in search of their third successive Premier League victory at the Stadium of Light.

Under the caretaker stewardship of Ricky Sbragia, the Black Cats have won their last two Premier League matches (4-0, home to West Brom, and 1-4 away to Hull); they've not won three on the bounce in 23 outings since 5 April 2008.

Distance between the clubs: 124 miles (199 kilometres)


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I think this is a really hard one to call. A point today and three against City would be fantastic, two wins would have me dancing all the way home on Sunday. I'm hoping we get a draw at Sunderland and Boro, Stoke, Spurs, WHU all draw or lose, to leave us very much in the race out of the bottom three.

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Im feeling very confident about these next 2 games. Im hoping for at least 4 points, which ever way whether it is a win over Sunderland,and draw against Man City or the other way around. Doesnt matter. If we get 6 points from these next 2 games,well then i think we will be at least(depending on other results) at least up to 12th or 13th. Its also interesting,as Stoke are up against Man U and West Brom against Chelsea. You would expect both Stoke and The Baggies to lose,but im sure both will go and give it a real go. Thats why its important that we at least pick up points on a consistent basis, whether its 1 or 3 points. All we need to do,is play our game,and not worry too much about what those around us are doing. Im going for a 2-0 away win for Rovers!

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2-0 to Sunderland. Lots of players who run around a lot which confuses Nelsen and Sambaman. Completely different prospect to Stoke who couldn't have played better to their strengths.

God I hope I'm wrong and Sam has the defence sorted. Would be happy with a draw.

Anyone else notice how players suddenly get fit after a manager change and things begin to improve? Grella could be fit and Newcastle have even wheeled out Viduka! Spurs have a clear physio room apparently. City's is supposedly filling up.

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Sunderland: Fulop, Bardsley, Nosworthy, Ferdinand, Collins, Malbranque, Tainio, Richardson, Reid, Cisse, Jones. Subs: Colgan, Whitehead, Edwards, Diouf, Murphy, Leadbitter, Chimbonda.

Blackburn: Robinson, Ooijer, Samba, Nelsen, Warnock, Emerton, Dunn, Andrews, Pedersen, Roberts, McCarthy. Subs: Brown, Khizanishvili, Kerimoglu, Mokoena, Treacy, Derbyshire, Olsson.

Referee: Martin Atkinson (W Yorkshire)

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There must be something wrong with Villanueva in training, or we just dont fancy him as a player. I have to say, i didnt see anything wrong whenever he has played,maybe just that he is a bit light weight.

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I don't see why Villanueva is left out. True, he's not the complete package, but if we're chasing the game and need a bit of magic why not throw him on for ten minutes?

Vogel is a tidy midfielder. Nothing great, but a much better footballer than Mokoena.

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