Sunderland Team News
Kieren Westwood is available again after missing the Southampton game due to the injury he picked up against Hull City but is not guaranteed a starting place after Vito Mannone impressed in the midweek cup win. Ondrej Celustka and Emanuele Giaccherini are fit despite limping off against Southampton.
Wes Brown should make his second consecutive start and his first league start since the 2-0 home win over Swansea in January 2012 after coming through the win against Southampton unscathed. Elsewhere, despite impressing against Southampton, Jozy Altidore could drop to the bench to accommodate Steven Fletcher.
Manchester City Team News
David Silva has been ruled out for around a month with a calf injury, City captain Vincent Kompany remains sidelined with a groin injury and Stefan Jovetic is out for another 3 weeks, also with a calf injury.
Matija Nastasic and Fernandinho are big doubts and face late fitness tests with Joleon Lescott on standby to replace Nastasic and Javi Garcia, Jack Rodwell and James Milner competing for a starting place should the Brazilian fail his fitness test.
Sunderland: Westwood; Celustka, Brown, O'Shea, Bardsley; Larsson, Ki, Colback; Johnson, Giaccherini; Fletcher.
Manchester City: Pantilimon; Zabaleta, Demichelis, Lescott, Clichy; Navas, Toure, Garcia, Nasri; Aguero, Negredo.
Key Match-up: Jack Colback Vs Yaya Toure
Jack Colback has thrived since his return to his favoured central midfield role but he will have his work cut out in this game, particularly with Lee Cattermole's suspension leaving the defensive midfield responsibility on his shoulders, as he comes up against the in-form Yaya Toure.
Colback will need to nullify Toure, who has 7 goals already this season from just 15 appearances in all competitions, if Sunderland are to win. Manchester City will be looking for the Ivorian to control the game, especially with David Silva out injured, and it will be up to Colback to get close to Toure and prevent him from dictating the game.
Recent Form: WWLWWW
Win: West Ham United 1-3 Manchester City (Vaz Te 58; Aguero 16,51, Silva 80)
Win: CSKA Moscow 1-2 Manchester City (Tosic 32; Aguero 34, 42)
Loss: Chelsea 2-1 Manchester City (Schurrle 32, Torres 90; Aguero 49)
Win: Newcastle United 0-2 Manchester City (Negredo 99, Dzeko 105)
Win: Manchester City 7-0 Norwich City (OG 16, Silva 20, OG 25, Negredo 36, Toure 60, Aguero 71, Dzeko 86)
Win: Manchester City 5-2 CSKA Moscow (Aguero 3,20, Negredo 30, 51,90; Doumbia 45, 71)
Last Time Around: Sunderland 1-0 Manchester City 26/12/2012
Sunderland won their third consecutive 1-0 home game against Manchester City on Boxing Day last year, a game which led Roberto Mancini to joke that they wouldn't travel to the Stadium of Light this season.
City had the upper hand in the first half but with Simon Mignolet in his usual great form they couldn't find a breakthrough, that led to Sunderland gaining confidence as the game went on. As the second half progressed the home side looked the more likely scorers and that's how it would turn out, with Adam Johnson scoring against his former side with a left-footed shot from wide right that Joe Hart really should have kept out.
City were unable to put pressure on the home defence and even the desperate measure of throwing Joleon Lescott on as a makeshift striker failed to test the resolute home team. Sunderland themselves had chances to extend the lead but both Sessegnon and Campbell were unable to finish when well placed, luckily those misses had no effect on the final score with Sunderland comfortably holding on for the victory.
The Ref: Mike Dean
This will be the first time Mike Dean officiates either side this season. Last season he had little to do as he was the referee in the 1-1 home draw with Southampton in May and the last time he was in charge of a Manchester City game he booked 8 players (5 from Man City) in their 2-1 derby win at Old Trafford in April.
So far this season he has refereed 10 games in all competitions, handing out 39 yellow cards and 3 reds, two of which have come in his last two games.
What The Managers Said
If we give it away to Manchester City we are not going to get it back. We are not going to take silly risks but we are going to try and pass the ball and keep it and essentially do better than we have done in two games recently.
The most important thing for me is to see us continuing to improve when the players go on the pitch. I want to see that against Manchester City.
We cannot continue losing points away from home. That's very important for us.
We are six points behind Arsenal. This Sunday, Arsenal play at Manchester United, which is a difficult game for both of them. It's a chance for us to recover two or three points. We'll see what happens in that match.
Roker Report Predicts
This will be comfortably the biggest test of Gus Poyet's short reign, with the Uruguayan determined that his side keep the ball against an accomplished Manchester City it will be essential that the likes of Ki and Colback control the midfield, a task that will be easier with David Silva missing due to injury but will still be a tall order as we come up against an in-form Yaya Toure.
We are predicting a tight affair but with our winning home run against City coming to an end as the teams fight out a scrappy 1-1 draw. Fletcher to score early for the home side, with City eventually breaking down a rearguard action thanks to the pace of Jesus Navas getting the best of Phil Bardsley.