Sunderland Team News
Having rested most of the Capital One Cup stars against Kidderminster, Gus Poyet will hope to call on a refreshed first team as the need for Premier League points regains priority.
It is highly likely that most of whom that started at Old Trafford will be selected, as their deputies did little to suggest otherwise against non-league opposition.
Stoke Team News
Ryan Shawcross will play with a protective cast on a fractured wrist, and Asmir Begovic is expected to continue in goal after returning from injury against Chelsea on Sunday.
However Mark Hughes will still be without long-term injury victims Robert Huth, Mattew Etherington and Andy Wilkinson.
New signing Peter Odemwingie could make his debut after joining from Cardiff City.
<a href="http://sharemytactics.com/5886/" title="Click to view tactic"><img src="http://sharemytactics.com/5886/Sunderland-Stoke-City-formation-tactics.png" alt="Sunderland vs Stoke City - Football tactics and formations" /></a>
Sunderland: Mannone; Bardsley, O'Shea, Brown, Alonso; Cattermole; Johnson, Ki, Colback, Borini; Fletcher
Stoke: Begovic; Cameron, Shawcross, Wilson, Pieters; Whelan, N'Zonzi; Arnautovic, Adam, Walters; Crouch
Key Matchup: Ki Sung-Yueng vs Charlie Adam
Ki's contribution and influence on Sunderland is not only well-documented at this stage, but was noticeable in his absence against Kidderminster. In a game that Sunderland need to control to continue their push towards safety, the South Korean's composure and range of passing present their best chance of succeeding in that regard.
For the visitors, Adam will be expected to dictate and join attacks from deep, which has produced a decent goal threat of late. Given that Ki is often Sunderland's ‘presser-in-chief' in the middle, they will need to be mindful of one another.
Recent Form: LDWLLL
Loss: Tottenham Hotspur 3-0 Stoke City (Soldado pen 37, Dembele 65, Lennon 69)
Draw: Stoke City 1-1 Everton (Assaidi 49; Baines pen 90)
Win: Stoke City 2-1 Leicester City (Jones 16, Adam 55; Nugent 77)
Loss: Stoke City 3-5 Liverpool (Crouch 39, Adam 45, Walters 85; Shawcross og 5, Suarez 32, 71, Gerrard pen 51, Sturridge 87)
Loss: Crystal Palace 1-0 Stoke City (Puncheon 51)
Loss: Chelsea 1-0 Stoke City (Oscar 27)
Last Time Around: Sunderland 1-1, 6/5/2013
Another one of those excruciating games that Sunderland fans have become accustomed to over the past 18 months, in which we fail to take the initiative.
Jonathan Walters opened the scoring, before Craig Gardner was sent off just before half-time. Thankfully, John O'Shea's equaliser just after the hour mark earned another point, inching the home side towards Premier League safety.
The Ref: Robert Madley
This is usually the part of the feature whereby damning statistics cast doubt on your pre-match optimism. Yet this will be only Madley's second game in charge of Sunderland - the first being last season's 2-0 League Cup win over Morecambe.
Go well, whistleblower.
What The Managers Said
Every game is different. Both teams need to play, it is not only about us.
It is a good time to play them, let's go and win it.
I don't think there will be too many surprises with my team.
Now we need to do the job, show our ability, try to compete. This is the most difficult part, the part that counts.
We have talked and worked on a few things, to do a bit better, I am not asking for a lot. Then we have a great chance to win.
We are going to do things differently which I hope works for our benefit. It is time. It is time to win.
It's not an easy place to go with them being on a high. I saw them against Man Utd and they were excellent.
But tomorrow is a key game, and we obviously need to take points from teams in and around us.
Roker Report Predicts
That despite many previous opportunities to take the initiative in crucial league matches this season, Poyet's men will finally take the hint. Stoke look rather vulnerable at present whereas Sunderland are structured - if unspectacular. We'll go for a timely 2-0 win, as others around us face each other this midweek.