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Preview: Hoping To Build At Hull

Fresh from a victory against Newcastle United that almost no one predicted, Sunderland travel to Hull City tomorrow looking for their second win of the season - with the added incentive of putting one over on old boss Steve Bruce.

Richard Sellers

Sunderland Team News

Gus Poyet is largely free of injury worries this weekend, though his squad has been skimmed down by the decision to allow David Vaughan to leave on loan to Nottingham Forest while, at the time of writing, Connor Wickham looks close to sealing a similar temporary move to Sheffield Wednesday.

Steven Fletcher's surprise inclusion last weekend was a huge help to the Black Cats, and he has thankfully shown no signs of a recurrence of the shoulder injury that sidelined him for over a month. Wes Brown is nearing full fitness, but it is unlikely that Poyet will change his side too much after the heartening display in Sunday's derby. One possible change may see Emanuele Giaccherini return to the side as the manager varies his tactics away from home; if this happens, Jozy Altidore is the most likely casualty.

Hull City Team News

Steve Bruce's injury list is a fairly hefty one. His son, Alex, picked up a groin knock in Wednesday's League Cup loss on penalties to Spurs, while Aaron McClean also finds himself in the treatment room following that game. First choice goalkeeper Allan McGregor remains sidelined with a thigh injury - meaning Steve Harper will likely fill in again - while James Chester misses out with a hamstring problem.

Meanwhile, Sone Aluko and Robbie Brady, two shining lights for The Tigers in the opening stages of this season, are rated doubtful, nursing calf and hernia troubles respectively. On a more positive note, Jake Livermore is available, having been ineligible for the last two games against parent club Tottenham.

Predicted Lineups

Hull City vs Sunderland - Football tactics and formations

Sunderland: Westwood, Bardsley, Dossena, O'Shea, Cuéllar; Cattermole, Colback, Larsson, Johnson, Giaccherini, Fletcher

Hull City: Harper; Rosenior, Figueroa, Davies, McShane; Elmohamady, Boyd, Huddlestone, Meyler, Livermore; Sagbo

Key Matchup: Jack Colback Vs Tom Huddlestone

Moved back into midfield after a long time away from his initial preferred position, Jack Colback was nothing short of outstanding against Newcastle last weekend. The Academy of Light product hassled, harried and utilised the ball extremely well, providing both a calming influence with possession and a constant trouble for the visitors without it.

Tom Huddlestone was a summer transfer target for Sunderland - and with good reason. When fit, he is an excellent Premier League midfielder, and has enjoyed a promising start to life by the Humber. Just as Colback negated the threat of Yohan Cabaye on Sunday, his team's fortunes may rest on his ability to replicate this against Huddlestone tomorrow.

Recent Form: WWDLLL

Win: Hull City 1-0 Huddersfield Town (Proschwitz 59)

Win: Hull City 1-0 West Ham United (Brady (pen) 12)

Draw: Hull City 0-0 Aston Villa

Loss: Everton 2-1 Hull City (Barry 8, Pienaar 57; Sagbo 30)

Loss: Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 Hull City (Soldado (pen) 80))

Loss: Tottenham Hotspur 2-2 Hull City (Tottenham won 8-7 on pens AET) (Sigurdsson 16, Kane 108; Friedel (og) 53, McShane 99)

Last Time Around: Hull City 0-1 Sunderland, 24/04/2010

An early Darren Bent strike earned Sunderland a late season victory the last time they visited the KC Stadium. Furthermore, it effectively relegated the hosts. This result left The Tigers, who had survived relegation on the final day of the previous season, six points adrift of 17th-placed West Ham with two games to play - and a goal difference dramatically worse than the men from East London.

The game itself saw a dramatic difference between the opening and closing halves. Sunderland should have scored in the first five minutes but Steed Malbranque's screwed his effort over the bar, though Bent's tap-in ensured the Frenchman didn't have to rue his miss for too long. The home side were under the cosh for much of the opening stages, arresting control of the game, before being awarded a penalty for Michael Turner's foul on Geovanni. Jimmy Bullard stepped up and promptly rocketed the ball off the post, before Alan Hutton and current Sunderland man Jozy Altidore were each dismissed for a comical incident in first-half stoppage time. With Sunderland content and the home side lacking in ideas, the second half was much less noteworthy, as the Black Cats saw out a comfortable victory.

The Ref: Andre Marriner

Perma-tanned Andre has yet to officiate either side this season, but both will have to be wary given the 42-year-old has dispensed 38 yellow cards and three reds in just 11 games thus far.

Last term, he presided over Sunderland's bore draw at home to QPR in November, as well as their final day 0-1 loss at Spurs. It is over three years since he took charge of a Hull City game - their last encounter coming on the final day of that 2009/10 season, where The Tigers brought the curtain down on their Premier League stay with a 0-0 draw at home to Liverpool.

What The Managers Said

Gus Poyet

Newcastle is gone, finished. Now it is all about Hull City.

The idea is to keep winning. We need to win football matches and now without any doubt, the feeling you have got inside is totally different now to last week.

Now we can say we have won a game, so now we can have that feeling, take it into the next game and keep going and make sure we win because it's the only way to get out of this situation.

Steve Bruce

Looking back on it, going there was arguably a mistake.

Being where I'm from, being a Newcastle fan as a boy, some would never forgive that.

I was desperately disappointed after finishing tenth I thought I might have got a bit more time.

It didn't happen and you move on and thankfully Hull gave me the opportunity to get back to work again.

When you get sacked you want to come back out fighting and show people what you're about.

Roker Report Predicts

After a derby win, anything seems possible. Certainly, a victory against Hull, promoted last season, does not seem beyond the realms of possibility. But it must be remembered that tomorrow's hosts have made a solid return to Premier League life and, for all his detractors, Steve Bruce knows how to set a side up. A point would be a good result for Sunderland.

But - and perhaps it is overly optimistic - we predict a win for the visitors tomorrow. Hull are without a number of key players, and Gus Poyet's tactical intricacies last weekend (something we've sadly not found the time to detail this week) offer hope for the future. Any victory will be a narrow one, but we wouldn't be surprised to see Sunderland shade it.

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