Martin O'Neill named an adventurous looking line up for the visit of Wigan Athletic, which includes a long-awaited home league debut for fit-again Adam Johnson.
Former Latic Lee Cattermole, missing the first of three games following his red card at MK Dons, is replaced in central midfield by Sebastian Larsson. John O'Shea, meanwhile, takes the captain's armband.
Sunderland (4-2-3-1): Simon Mignolet; Craig Gardner, Danny Rose, John O'Shea, Titus Bramble; Jack Colback, Sebastian Larsson; Adam Johnson, Stephane Sessegnon, James McClean, Steven Fletcher.
Substitutes: Keiren Westwood, David Meyler, Matthew Kilgallon, David Vaughan, Connor Wickham, Louis Saha, Fraizer Campbell.
Roberto Martinez opted for the trusted 3-4-3 formation which won them so many plaudits and points down the stretch. Franco Di Santo was only fit enough for the bench after overcoming a late fitness test. One time Sunderland back-up 'keeper Mike Pollitt remains ever-green and on the bench with Di Santo.
Wigan Athletic (3-4-3): Ali Al-Habsi; Ivan Ramis, Gary Caldwell, Maynor Figueroa; Emerson Boyce, Jean Beausejour, James McCarthy, James McArthur; Jordi Gomez, Arouna Kone, Shaun Maloney.
Substitutes: Mike Pollitt, Ben Watson, David Jones, Franco Di Santo, Mauro Boselli, Callum McManaman, Ryo Miyaichi
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