Gus Poyet made two changes for the visit of managerless QPR, with fit-again duo Adam Johnson and Connor Wickham returning to the line-up.
Ricky Alvarez and Danny Graham were the, probably unfortunate, players to drop out of the side, as Sunderland chased three points that would likely put some serious distance between themselves and the bottom three.
Jack Rodwell and Emanuele Giaccherini were again missing from the squad with niggles, and Billy Jones, who Poyet confirmed was fit on Monday, was another notable absentee.
Sunderland (4-3-3): Costel Pantilimon; Anthony Reveillere, Santiago Vergini, John O’Shea, Patrick van Aanholt, Liam Bridcutt, Seb Larsson, Jordi Gomez, Adam Johnson, Connor Wickham, Jermain Defoe.
Subs: Wes Brown, Steven Fletcher, Danny Graham, Ricky Alvarez, Sebastian Coates, Liam Agnew, Vito Mannone.
QPR: Rob Green; Mauricio Isla, Steven Caulker, Rio Ferdinand, Yun Suk-young; Martin Phillips, Karl Henry, Joey Barton, Niko Kranjcar, Leroy Fer; Bobby Zamora.
Subs: Alex McCarthy, Armand Traore, Clint Hill, Shaun Wright-Phillips, Adel Taarabt, Mauro Zarate, Michael Doughty