Preview: Let's Get The Party With Marty Restarted Against Wolves

Steve Fletcher killed us last time out, and will be doing most the tormenting this weekend as Wolves battle for their Premier League lives.

Here we are, ready to get the ship righted after a thoroughly depressing bank holiday weekend of football, and there's not really a better way than at home, taking on a struggling Wolves side who could well be relegated (bar the shouting) if they are defeated by us.

So let's preview the game. We've got team news from both sides, some tunes to get you through the day, not to mention a classic encounter and some betting tips. Here we go...

Sunderland Team News

We've still a few walking wounded - as seen in the Everton capitulation where Phil Bardsley and Lee Cattermole again needed to be withdrawn. Sunderland fans know all-too-well about the effects of playing injured during Steve Bruce's tenure, so hopefully both are given a reprieve this weekend.

Should both fail to make it then I expect Craig Gardner to revert to right-back where he has filled in admirably under O'Neill, with either Kieran Richardson or Wayne Bridge being recalled allowing Jack Colback to return to midfield.

Nicklas Bendtner, having missed the game at Goodison Park, is hopefully fit enough to be reinstalled as the team's focal point in attack and, generally, I suspect there will be a fresher look to the side.

Fraizer Campbell and John O'Shea have returned to training, and whilst it may be a little too soon for either, O'Neill is getting people back from injury in order to aid the final push.

One face that Sunderland will be without, however, is Ahmed Elmohamady after he was allowed to jet off with the Egyptian national side in order to get some game time.

Wolves Team News

Terry Connor's men travel to Wearside desperately needing a win but will do so without the suspended Sebastien Bassong, who was sent off against Arsenal in midweek.

Jamie O'Hara - a player who has caught the eye of a number of Sunderland fans in recent seasons - is another who will miss the game after undergoing groin surgery, as is former Sunderland man Jody Craddock.

In midfield we'll have to watch out for the wing dangers of Michael Kightly and Matt Jarvis, especially if we go with Gardner at right-back and a returning Kieran Richardson at left-back, should Colback be moved.

Up front, Connor opted for Kevin Doyle last time out but may go with Steven Fletcher; Sunderland's tormentor-in-chief the last time the two sides met. Given that Wolves need a result desperately, both may be deployed as out-and-out strikers as Connor goes for broke.

Predicted Lineups

SAFC: Mignolet; Gardner, Turner, Kilgallon, Richardson; Larsson, Colback, Vaughan, McClean; Sessegnon, Bendtner

WWFC: Hennessey; Zubar, Stearman, Berra, Ward; Kightly, Henry, Davis, Jarvis; Fletcher, Doyle

Classic Encounter

We take a look back to 2009, where a Kenwyne Jones brace was backed up by a Darren Bent penalty, a Michael Turner header and a Michael Mancienne own goal as Sunderland ran out 5-2 winners at the Stadium of Light.

This game seemed to have it all; a what would become trademark early strike from Bent, the striker then unselfishly (I know, I know) allowing Jones to take the Lads' second penalty of the game and a Wolves response that included a goal from an indirect free-kick after Craig Gordon handled a hurried Kieran Richardson back-pass.

Get Rich Quick

Well, no luck last time I was in charge of the Roker Report coffers as ourselves and Tottenham played out a rather dull 90 minutes. So, here's hoping we can bring you a winner this week...

  • With Sunderland being marked up as favourites for this game, the first goalscorer market is rather stingy. Seb Larsson's found his shooting boots again of late and 9/1 (various) for the Swede to open the scoring is eye-catching.
  • Given that Wolves are desperate, I fancy them to score in the game, but desperation can often leave you exposed at the back - a 3-1 Sunderland win is best-priced 12/1 with Coral.
  • Finally, seeing as I've been no good at this thing of late, I'll opt for a saver. Wolves to get a point - but not the three that they need - can be snapped up at 3/1 or better in most places.

Song For Whoever

Get some Futureheads on, man. There's not really a correlation, Wolves? Hounds? Nah. Sod it.

Prediction

I'll say home win, but then again I was always going to, wasn't I? O'Neill has found a response after every Sunderland setback so far during his tenure and I have no reason to believe that it won't happen this time. Fresh legs, playing at home, sounds like a 3-1 win to me.

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