Preview: Can Di Canio Turn Toffees Into Treacle?

Stu Forster

As we near another weekend of action we give you the lowdown of Sunderland v Everton. All the information you need before heading off to the match.

Sunderland Team News

Paolo Di Canio still has a trio of injury concerns ahead of his first match at the Stadium of Light as Sunderland manager.

Both Carlos Cuellar and Phil Bardsley remain doubtful having limped off against Newcastle United. Should either miss out then a defensive reshuffle looks likely, with Kader Mangane possibly receiving his first start. Connor Wickham missed the derby game entirely, and it remains uncertain whether he'll be fit, whilst Craig Gardner sits out the second of his two-match suspension.

Everton Team News

Leon Osman has been given an ‘outside chance' by manager David Moyes.

The midfielder missed the midweek draw against Arsenal, and faces an anxious wait to see whether he'll be declared fit to return. Elsewhere, Tony Hibbert is nearing a comeback having featured for the under-21 team, but Seamus Coleman is likely to continue in his place. Moyes has the option to freshen the team up after Tuesday's game, perhaps recalling Nikica Jelavic to the front line.

Predicted Lineups

Sunderland: Mignolet; Bardsley, O'Shea, Cuellar, Rose; Johnson, Larsson, N'Diaye, McClean; Sessegnon; Graham

Everton: Howard; Coleman, Jagielka, Distin, Baines; Mirallas, Barkley, Gibson, Pienaar; Fellaini, Jelavic

Key Matchup: Adam Johnson Vs Leighton Baines

Johnson has been revitalised under the new manager, so much that he looked close to his international best last time out against Newcastle.

In Baines, and Steven Pienaar, Everton have one of the most potent left-hand side's in the division. A good way of nullifying that threat would be to keep Baines occupied in defence.

Recent Form: WWDWD

Win: Everton 2-0 Manchester City (Osman 32, Jelavic 90+3)

Win: Everton 1-0 Stoke City (Mirallas 28)

Draw: Tottenham Hotspur 2-2 Everton (Adebayor 1, Sigurdsson 87; Jagielka 15, Mirallas 53)

Win: Everton 2-0 Queens Park Rangers (Gibson 40, Anichebe 56)

Draw: Arsenal 0-0 Everton

Last Time Around: Sunderland 1-1 Everton, 26/12/11

Just when you think we are able to banish the curse of Everton, Leon Osman kicks the floor and is awarded a penalty. Prior to that, Sunderland had edged proceedings and took the lead through a deflected Jack Colback goal, only for said incident to arrive shortly after half-time and knock the wind out of the home team's sails. Leighton Baines duly converted the controversial spot kick, and Everton could have even snatched all three points had Sylvain Distin not fired a late chance over.

The Ref: Phil Dowd

Oh, great. Even discounting the infamous forehead rubbing of Lee Cattermole, the Staffordshire-based official doesn't have the greatest of relationships with Sunderland.

As stats go this one is a stinker: Sunderland are closing in on a third successive season without a win in games that Dowd has been in charge of.

What The Managers Said

Paolo Di Canio:

I can’t wait; it would be fantastic to give more satisfaction to our fans after what happened last week.

We had a fantastic day last weekend, but the main job is not done.

The lads have received that message very well. There is still excitement, but they are really focused and I’m very happy with the way they’ve worked during this week.

Since the beginning they have been a very good group of lads and I’m very happy with them, but we all know that the main job is not done yet.

David Moyes:

I think with Paolo going to the club it makes it a bit more interesting.

They had a terrific win in their derby so I think it will give their players and their crowd a lift.

Roker Report Predicts

A tough one. Any game against Everton is one that we'll undoubtedly need to work hard in order to obtain any points from, but our performances under Di Canio thus far should stand us in good stead. I think a score draw, with Fellaini rescuing a point for the visitors, is on the cards.

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