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Sunderland v Hull Preview: Black Cats Looking To Build Momentum

Can it be third time the charm for a post-derby Sunderland against Steve Bruce's Hull City?

Nigel Roddis/Getty Images

Sunderland team news

Anthony Reveillere is out for a month after injuring his calf in the warm-up against Newcastle, so Billy Jones may be pressed back into early service to solve a full back shortage. Should the former WBA man return, one of John O'Shea, Wes Brown or Sebastian Coates - all excellent in the Tyne/Wear derby - can count themselves unfortunate to miss out.

Connor Wickham is suspended, so the left-wing position is likely to go to Ricky Alvarez or Will Buckley, with the former probably the slight favourite. Emanuele Giaccherini could return to the squad.

Hull City team news

Steve Bruce has something of selection crisis on his hand, with Tom Huddlestone and Jake Livermore both suspended, Michael Dawson and Mohamed Diame injured, and Curtis Davies struggling with a calf injury.

Tom Ince and Maynor Figueroa were recalled from loan spells to add some depth.

Predicted line-up

Sunderland - Football tactics and formations

Key match-up: Lee Cattermole v David Meyler

In terms of ability and influence, this is a no-contest. Cattermole is the better player by a mile. However, Meyler has been instructed to try to wind-up his former team-mate and get under his skin before, and you can bet Bruce will be trying to repeat the trick again. Who wins the battle of wits could have a big factor on which team wins the points.

Recent form: LDDLL

Loss: Manchester United 3-0 Hull City

Draw: Everton 1-1 Hull Cuty (Aluko)

Draw: Hull City 0-0 WBA

Loss: Chelsea 2-0 Hull City

Loss: Hull City 0-1 Swansea City

Last time around: Sunderland 0-2 Hull City (8/2/2014)

A week after beating Newcastle United at St James' Park, Hull rolled into town and turned us over at the Stadium of Light. They were kinda helped by a Wes Brown red card after four minutes, but it was still annoying.

The ref: Andre Marriner

*Sigh* Why Marriner? He is marginally better than Kevin Friend, possibly, but he's still very much on the 'FFS, man' end of the Sunderland refereeing scale. As if his long track record of causing us pretty much nothing but misery wasn't enough, he has taken charge of just one Sunderland game so far this season - the 8-0 defeat to Southampton.

What the managers said

Gus Poyet:

It's about how we prepare for Hull, how the players deal with their families at home, how they rest, what they eat and drink, and to make sure they go into the game against Hull like they did against Everton (on Boxing Day) last year.

We have to concentrate now and make sure we get what we need to at least get past the 20-point mark.

Steve Bruce

They'll be buoyed, all right, and the atmosphere will be electric. They will be full of joy because they've turned over Newcastle for the fourth time on the spin.

But I'm more concerned about how we are going to perform. We beat Sunderland three times last year, which was terrific, and now we've got to do it again.

Roker Report predicts

Surely, SURELY, it's our turn to get some joy against Hull. Last season they had the most unbelievable run of absurd luck against us imaginable. It can't hold forever. There is always the risk of things getting a bit 'after the Lord Mayor's show', and we played Hull twice last season after derby wins and lost both amid a slew of red cards. It's time to put that right. I'll say a nervy 2-1 Sunderland win.