Sunderland Team News
Connor Wickham is out for Sunderland after picking up a calf strain during the pre-match warm up against Fulham and he joins Lee Cattermole on the sidelines. Jack Rodwell, Adam Johnson, Billy Jones, Will Buckley and Emanuele Giaccherini will all face late fitness tests but may not be risked with next Tuesday's home game against QPR in mind.
Seb Larsson has recovered from a slight strain he picked up against Burnley and is likely to return to the starting line-up after missing the win over Fulham while Danny Graham is pushing for a start after recent impressive performances as a substitute.
Swansea Team News
Swansea have a selection dilemma in central midfield after Jay Fulton and Tom Carroll impressed in their 1-0 win at Southampton and Ki Sung-Yueng returned to Swansea after being on Asian Cup duty with South Korea, Leon Britton recovered after a month out with injury and illness and Jack Cork signed from Southampton late in the transfer window.
They have less options in attacking areas however after Gylfi Sigurdsson was sent off against Blackburn, Marvin Emnes and Wayne Routledge are rated very doubtful and Jefferson Montero has only just returned to training after hamstring problems and is unlikely to be risked.
Sunderland (4-1-2-3): Costel Pantilimon; Anthony Reveillere, Santiago Vergini, John O'Shea, Patrick van Aanholt; Liam Bridcutt; Seb Larsson, Jordi Gomez; Ricky Alvarez, Jermain Defoe, Steven Fletcher.
Swansea (4-2-3-1): Lukas Fabianski; Kyle Naughton, Federico Fernandez, Ashley Williams, Neil Taylor; Tom Carroll, Leon Britton; Nathan Dyer, Jonjo Shelvey, Modou Barrow; Bafetimbi Gomis.
Key Match-up: Liam Bridcutt vs Jonjo Shelvey
The bulk of Swansea's attacking play is likely to come through Jonjo Shelvey, who can be very hit and miss, so it will be vital that Liam Bridcutt is at his best and makes sure that Shelvey has a 'miss' day. If Bridcutt can keep Shelvey quiet, it will go a long way to making sure we come away from the Liberty Stadium with a result.
Recent Form: DWDLLW
Draw: QPR 1-1 Swansea (Fer 20'; Bony 90+2' (Routledge - sent off))
Win: Tranmere 2-6 Swansea (Power 70', Stockton 82'; Dyer 34', T.Carroll 49', Barrow 58', Gomis 77', 90+4', Routledge 85')
Draw: Swansea 1-1 West Ham (OG 74'; A.Carroll 43')
Loss: Swansea 0-5 Chelsea (Oscar 1', 36', Costa 20', 34', Schurrle 79')
Loss: Blackburn 3-1 Swansea (C.Taylor 23', Gestede 78', Conway 89'; Sigurdsson 21'(Bartley & Sigurdsson - sent off))
Win: Southampton 0-1 Swansea ((Bertrand - sent off); Shelvey 83')
Last Time Around: Swansea 4-0 Sunderland (19/10/2014)
Gus Poyet's reign as Sunderland's head coach got off to a disastrous start despite going in at the break at 0-0 after being the better of the two sides during the first half, as two own goals (from Phil Bardsley and Steven Fletcher), a penalty (after Craig Gardner clumsily fouled Leon Britton) and a Jonathan De Guzman goal meant the visitors completely capitulated in the second half.
Referee: Phil Dowd
Dowd has refereed Sunderland twice this season, during the 3-1 win at Crystal Palace and the 1-1 home draw with West Ham United. Following both games the opposition manager has slammed the referee for decisions going for Sunderland.
Sam Allardyce compained that Johnson dived to win a penalty and Neil Warnock slammed Dowd's decisions not to give Palace penalties after alleged fouls on Fraizer Campbell and Wilfried Zaha. Hopefully we hear similar complaints from Garry Monk after today's game.
What The Managers Said:
We have changed a lot [since the last time Sunderland visited Swansea] - and I am not talking about specifically playing way. We have changed a lot of personnel - it is a completely different playing group. I think 13 or 14 players have left and nine new ones, so it's been a big change.
We are still in the process of trying to play in a certain way a bit better than we are doing - probably Tuesday was one of the best days in those terms, passing the ball and controlling the game. We need to maintain that, and winning helps.
He's [Jermain Defoe] a fantastic player, a goal-scorer always playing on the shoulder.
He spoke about how much he missed the Premier League so he'll want to make an impact and he's a player we will have to be aware of. He's a very good signing.
You have to get in good positions, defend the one versus one, defend as a unit, and have the ball for longer periods. But they have good players all over the pitch we have to be wary of but we have to worry about ourselves.
Roker Report Predicts
It's likely to be a tight affair a the Liberty Stadium and with both sides going into the game on the back of good results, we think a 1-1 draw is the most likely outcome.