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Preview: Sunderland Looking To Out-Fox The Foxes

Sunderland head to the Midlands for what looks like being a potentially very open game against Leicester City.

Ian Walton/Getty Images

Sunderland team news

Gus Poyet has been boosted by the return of three players ahead of the trip to the Midlands. Lee Cattermole has completed a one-match ban and on-loan deadline-day duo Sebastian Coates and Ricky Alvarez have returned to training.

Steven Fletcher has been declared fit after an injury scare whilst playing for Scotland, but Billy Jones, Emanuele Giaccherini and Patrick van Aanholt are still missing.

Leicester City team news

Central defensive duo Liam Moore and Wes Morgan are expected to be fit for the Foxes, though Dean Hammond and Matthew Upson remain unavailable.

Predicted line-up

Sunderland - Football tactics and formations

Key match-up: John O'Shea v Leonardo Ulloa

Ulloa is a player that Gus Poyet knows incredibly well and he'll be fully aware of the Argentinian's ability to sniff out a chance and finish it. Much will rely upon denying him the service from wide, but realistically O'Shea will have to be close to his best as well.

Sunderland recent form: LWD

Loss: Arsenal (H) 0-2

Win: Crystal Palace (A) 3-1

Draw: Everton (H) 1-1

Leicester recent form: LLL

Loss: Swansea City (A) 0-2

Loss: West Bromwich Albion (H) 0-1

Loss: Southampton (A) 0-2

Last time around: Leicester City 0-2 Sunderland (1/1/2007)

The Foxes were an early victim of the post-Christmas Roy Keane juggernaut in the 2006/07 season, as late goals from Tobias Hysen and David Connolly sealed a belief-affirming New Years Day win for the Black Cats.

The ref: Robert Madely

Definitely not one of the more well-known officials, Madely takes charge of just his second Premier League game of the season, with Sunderland also involved in the first - the 1-0 defeat away to Queens Park Rangers.

What the managers said:

Gus Poyet:

I don't think there's a difference between Leicester and the rest of the bottom 10, there are ups and downs in there. Like any other manager, the sooner they get it up again, the better for them.

We have to make sure that we are much better than the previous game after the international break.

Nigel Pearson:

You take out the Southampton game and they are a very well organised team.

People underestimate the qualities they have. We do need to get back to winning ways for a number of reasons but, in terms of reigniting the confidence in our side, that is always going to be an important factor with how we are going to go about the game.

We have to try to play our own game as well and that's what we'll endeavour to do. Knowing Gus Poyet he knows we need a result and he'll be expecting a tough game.

Roker Report predicts

I could be mad here looking at the two sides, but I fancy a few goals in this one. I'll go for an entertaining 2-2 draw.