Preview: Dare We Dream Of Two Wins In A Row?

Alan Hutton returns to the Stadium Of Light, and I don't think he'll be sleeping comfortably before or after the match. Yeah, you thought there'd be a picture of Darren Bent didn't you? Well it's not about him.

Well I guess we're all pretty happy at the moment following a solid away win at Bolton Wanderers last weekend. You might even call it hysterical as Steve Bruce looks to have gone some way towards righting the good ship Sunderland.

And now we of course return to Wearside to take on Aston Villa, an old foe, a huge club, packed with familiar names. That's the politically correct way to say who you're all thinking about anyway.

It's been quite a while since we had two wins in a row. So long ago I can't even be bothered to look it up, but it must have been a fair while. Does this mean we're due, or the trend will continue? We're assessing all the match action here, in the only preview you need...

Sunderland Team News

Steve Bruce rung changes last week, and by golly gosh they delivered. So I'm at a loss as to why anything would change. There doesn't appear to have been any injuries this week, so it's pretty much as you were. For the purposes of refreshing your memory and padding out an article, that's this team...

Simon Mignolet will continue in goal and in front of him look for John O'Shea, Michael Turner, Wes Brown and Kieran Richardson. All of whom had fine games at the Reebok little under a week ago.

Midfield should see Stephane Sessegnon on the left, but cutting inside when we have the ball allowing a three man front and Richardson to bomb on and give Alan Hutton some hassle. In midfield Diamant Noir should be joined once again by Jack Colback, David Vaughan and Sebastian Larsson.

Up top, when Sessegnon isn't with them, we'll see Nicklas Bendtner hoping to continue his good form, plus the emerging Connor Wickham.

So that's pretty much it. There surely can't be any changes that aren't enforced, not even a return for Lee Cattermole, which would unnecessarily break up the good partnership of Colback and Vaughan.

Aston Villa Team News

Aston Villa don't have a huge amount of injury news. The only one set to be absent is American fullback, Eric Lichaj, whilst Jermaine Jenas is touch and go for the game.

Drink driving is a terrible thing, however I'm partly delighted 'Little' Barry Bannan decided to partake and get himself suspended by the club this week, as he's a fine player, and would have started I've no doubt, but luckily he'll be missing.

Villa are boosted by the non-suspension however of Chris Herd. Herd was ludicrously sent off against West Brom last time out, and Villa have won the appeal, so we can look for him to continue in midfield for the Midlands side.

Villa seem to be adopting a now traditional 4-2-3-1 formation, with Stilian Petrov plus Herd or Fabian Delph doing the holding, and a line of Charles N'Zogbia, Gabby Agbonlahor and Bannan behind Darren "BOOOOOOOOO" Bent.

We'd expect Bannan's spot to be taken by Marc Albrighton, and N'Zogbia shifted inside.

The key to victory for me will be in our hassling up their end of the field. I'm backing Sessegnon & Richardson to give Hutton sleepless nights for weeks to come, whilst Bendtner & Wickham have more than enough moxy to better Dunne & Collins.

Perhaps more crucial to all this is we focus on the game. By all means Boo and give Mr Bent all the stick he deserves, but only for a while before backing the lads and showing him just what he's missing. Bring back "The Roker Roar."

Predicted Line-Ups

SAFC: Mignolet; Richardson, Turner, Brown, O'Shea; Larsson, Sessegnon, Colback, Vaughan; Bendtner, Wickham

Aston Villa: Given; Hutton, Dunne, Collins, Warnock; Petrov, Herd; Albrighton, N'Zogbia, Agbonlahor; Bent

Classic Encounter

For this week's classic, we harken back to the 1955/56 season, in which we took on Aston Villa early in the season (much like this) and we gave them an absolute shoeing 5-1. 33,000 or so packed into Roker Park to witness Billy Bingham bag a brace, whilst Ted Purdon, Ken Chisholm and Charlie Fleming also got in in the act. Since then it's been relatively slim pickings for us against Villa, so lets say we're due...

Get Rich Quick

Speaking of things which were due, we were due a win in this section, and many thanks to Mr Sessegnon for providing us with one last week, delivering the first goal of the game at 8/1. Now to bust out the crystal ball again, and our pick for this week is... John O'Shea for first goal at 40/1. He's been getting closer and closer, much like Sessegnon was before he broke his duck, so now Mr O'Shea, step up and win me a few pints. Those of a nervous disposition may wish to know that it's 11/2 Bent open's the scoring.

Song For Whoever

Song for whoever, and this week's dedication comes from Mark Cameron (Twitter's @MarkSCameron) and I don't think it needs much of an intro as anyone with half a brain can work it out...

Many thanks for the suggestion, and if you want your name in lights like Mark did, then hit us up on Twitter @RokerReport or Facebook.

Prediction

I said it on the podcast, and I'm sticking with it, a 2-0 win for our boys. It's incredible what one win can do for a team, and their half as confident as I am we should come away with all three points. No doubt someone will chime in with "you've changed your tune!"... well yes, I have, and from what we've seen at Bolton, I see no reason why we can't continue it into this game. Fingers crossed, the season actually starts now.

Ha'way The Lads!

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