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Burnley vs. Sunderland Preview: Two Teams Looking For A First Win

Sunderland head to Burnley with both teams aiming to build on encouraging recent performances.

Jan Kruger

Sunderland Team News

Gus Poyet has options to consider after pondering his decision to start new signing Ricky Alvarez against Tottenham Hotspur last Saturday.

The Argentinian had a quiet debut, with Poyet suggesting perhaps he may have had greater impact coming off the bench - which could hint at a start for either Emanuele Giaccherini or Will Buckley.

Elsewhere, the Sunderland team looks relatively settled with Connor Wickham as the focal point of attack.

Burnley Team News

Sean Dyche this week confirmed that Danny Ings' hamstring injury is not as bad as first feared, however it will still prevent the striker from returning to action this weekend.

Matt Taylor and Sam Vokes also remain sidelined, with George Boyd expected to retain his place on the left-hand side of midfield.

Marvin Sordell replaced Ings in the latter stages against Crystal Palace, and is likely to partner Lukas Jutkiewicz in attack.

Predicted Lineups

Burnley vs Sunderland - Football tactics and formations

Sunderland: Mannone; Vergini, Brown, O'Shea, van Aaholt; Cattermole; Johnson, Larsson, Rodwell, Giaccherini; Wickham

Burnley: Heaton; Trippier, Duff, Shackell, Mee; Arfield, Marney, Jones, Boyd; Sordell, Jutkiewicz

Key Matchup: Adam Johnson vs Ben Mee

With a little over 100 career league appearances, the Burnley full-back is still in the ‘apprenticeship' stage of his development.

Should Boyd be deployed in front of Mee on the left-hand side, then he may find himself without adequate cover - an area of the field where Sunderland look to exploit generally, but may do so more regularly if Johnson is provided more room than usual.

After scoring his first goal of the season against Spurs, Johnson should be buoyed at his prospects against Burnley.

Recent Form

Sunderland: DDLD

Draw: West Bromwich Albion 2-2 Sunderland

Draw: Sunderland 1-1 Manchester United

Loss: Queens Park Rangers 1-0 Sunderland

Draw: Sunderland 2-2 Tottenham Hotspur

Burnley: LLDD

Loss: Burnley 1-3 Chelsea

Loss: Swansea City 1-0 Burnley

Draw: Burnley 0-0 Manchester United

Draw: Crystal Palace 0-0 Burnley

Last Time Around: Burnley 3-1 Sunderland, 19/09/2009

An eerily similar date, Steven Fletcher starting up front for Burnley and two goals from David Nugent proving decisive - one of those games that manages to confound despite its relatively recent occurrence.

After scoring against Bolton Wanderers on the opening day of the season, Darren Bent would go on to score against another Lancashire side, before Nugent's second-half cameo from the bench settled the game's outcome.

The Ref: Anthony Taylor

An official that we have seemed to bypass in recent years, Taylor has only facilitated three Sunderland games in the last two seasons - the most memorable being the extra-time win over Chelsea in the quarter-final of the Capital One Cup.

That comes as a shame, as a home defeat to Arsenal in 2013 is the only game in recent seasons that Sunderland have failed to take anything from with the Cheshire-based man in charge.

What The Managers Said

Gus Poyet

It is a tough game because of Burnley's position, and it is away from home. We know the team reflects the passion of the manager Sean Dyche, and the way they play.

They are also looking for their first victory. We have to be confident in what we do. Maintain a high level of performance for a long period."

It was a tough game against Spurs and because of the spirit and mentality of the group we managed to come back and get a point. We need to get something from this game.

Sean Dyche

Lots of Sunderland supporters will expect their team to beat us, and that does probably add a bit of weight to the game from their point of view.

But I think that does us down a bit. Our record speaks for itself at Turf Moor, where we're pretty handy.

I certainly don't think we're a team where you can just walk into Turf Moor and think it will all work out happily for you.

You have to earn that right, certainly here, and I don't think Gus Poyet is naive enough to think otherwise.

Roker Report Predicts

That this will be a difficult game. After facing Chelsea and Manchester United at home, Burnley will undoubtedly see this as a reprieve of some sorts - a game, at home, where they could or should continue to pick up Premier League points.

Sunderland travel to Turf Moor with the expectancy that emanates from facing a newly-promoted team, yet Sean Dyche's side presents another mental challenge for the visitors to overcome. Games against teams of this stature, in years gone by, have clung onto any Sunderland attempt to distance themselves from the bottom half of the table. We'll err on the side of slight optimism, with Connor Wickham eventually finding a winner in a 2-1 win.