Preview: Sunderland Take On Saints For Sixth Round Spot

Chris Brunskill

Sunderland take on Southampton yet again, this time for the chance to be in the sixth round of the FA Cup.

Sunderland Team News

Wes Brown continues to sit out with suspension for the red card picked up against Hull City, meaning it's likely that Santiago Vergini will continue in his place at the heart of the defence.

Elswhere we anticipate several changes. Expect the likes of Lee Cattermole, Emanuele GIaccherini and Seb Larsson in midfield while Nacho Scocco should make his debut in attack.

There's a chance, although we figure it to be unlikely, that Oscar Ustari will be given another chance to impress in goal, with Vito Mannone given time off for good behaviour.

Southampton Team News

Mauricio Pochettino mixed things up dramatically last time we met in the cup, but the FA Cup is considerably more prestigious and we don't anticipate he'll make as many changes as last time.

Much like Gus Poyet, it will likely just be a chance to rest key players and give those on the fringes a chance. Those such as highly-promising youngster Sam Gallagher along with more senior heads of Kelvin Davis, Guly Do Prado and Jos Hooiveld.

Gaston Ramirez and Dejan Lovren will both miss the game through injury.

Predicted Lineups

Sunderland vs Southampton - Football tactics and formations

Sunderland: Ustari, Bardsley, O'Shea, Vergini, Roberge, Cattermole, Larsson, Gardner, Mavrias, Giaccherini, Scocco

Southampton: Davis, Chambers, Hooiveld, Fonte, Shaw, Schneiderlin, Cork, Lallana, Rodriguez, Guly, Gallagher

Key Matchup: Emanuele Giaccherini Vs Southampton Fullbacks

It's been a while since the little Italian showed us what he's capable of, and he needs a good showing against a tough Southampton back line to show he still has a future on Wearside.

Should he get the better of Luke Shaw or Calum Chambers, he can go to Gus Poyet and be a bit more demanding about playing time. If not though, it could relegate him almost permanently to the role of squad player.

Note, I don't single him about against one particular fullback, I think he and Mavrias or whoever is on the other flank will be swapping around plenty during the game.

Recent Form: DWDWDW

Draw: Sunderland 2-2 Southampton (Rodriguez 4, Lovren 31, Borini 32, Johnson 71)

Win: Southampton 2-0 Yeovil Town (Guly 23 pen, Gallagher 70)

Draw: Southampton 2-2 Arsenal (Fonte 21, Giroud 48, Cazorla 52, Lallana 54)

Win: Fulham 0-3 Southampton (Lallana 64, Lambert 70, Rodriguez 75)

Draw: Southampton 2-2 Stoke City (Lambert 6, Odemwingie 38, Davis 41, Crouch 44)

Win: Hull City 0-1 Southampton (Fonte 69)

Last Time Around: Sunderland 2-2 Southampton, 18/01/14

Only a few weeks ago, so you probably don't need too much reminding about the game or result. Southampton came and battered us for long periods and took a deserved two goal lead through Jay Rodriguez and Dejan Lovren.

Goals from Fabio Borini and Adam Johnson clawed back a very valuable point, but performances will have to be considerably improved this time around to progress to the next round of the cup.

What The Managers Said

Gus Poyet

I was looking forward to giving a few players opportunities and that will not change.

We have a few players who need to play and deserve to play but, for different reasons, they haven't been able to.

I'm talking about players like (Emmanuele) Giaccherini and (Ignacio) Scocco. They both need minutes, so we're going to use that game for this.

But it will all be first team players, we will not be taking the game lightly. I hope that we win it so we don't have to play a replay.

Jesus Perez (Assistant Manager)

We know Sunderland very well.

This will be the fourth time we've met them [this season] but, when you are playing a lot of competitions, that's always a possibility. We are ready to face them.

We've played against them three times, and each single game has been different.

We have learned from every game against them. We review and analyse every game to determine how we have to improve in case we have to repeat situations.

Roker Report Predicts

This isn't an easy game at all and could well spell the end of our cup run if we're not incredibly careful. Having met a few times now this season we really ought to have figured out Southampton, so hopefully we've done that.

It wouldn't surprise me for once second if the game went to a draw and a replay nobody really wants in a few weeks time, but as a homer I'll plump for a narrow 1-0 home win.

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