RR: Let's start with the elephant in the room - Patrick van Aanholt. From our point of view, it was good money for defender who has his 'episodes' defensively but it can't be denied how good he is going forward. What's your thoughts on your new signing?
TEB: I'm certainly intrigued to see how he goes following very similar feedback from the majority of Sunderland fans. He has most definitely said all the right things since he joined and was solid on his debut in midweek. In truth, the full back position has been our Achilles heel for a while now, particularly at left back since Pape Souare was involved in a horrific car accident earlier in the season. It is still not clear when or if we will see him back playing again so Patrick is a very welcome addition.
RR: Not satisfied with having our left back, you've got our former gaffer! What are you making of Big Sam so far? If you don't like him, I'm sure there's plenty of Sunderland fans who'd be up for taking him back.
TEB: There are very mixed views on his appointment but there is no doubt that with the position we find ourselves in at the moment I cannot think that there is anyone better to keep us up. It is a travesty that we find ourselves in this position and Big Sam will no doubt consider this one of the best squads that he has inherited who have quite simply under performed. Yes, Allardyce comes with baggage but after the England debacle he will be looking to prove a point and that can only work in our favour. Many expected an immediate impact which did not happen when he first joined but we are just now seeing real improvement which gives us plenty of hope for the remainder of the season.
RR: Both Christian Benteke & Andros Townsend arrived in the summer, causing much excitement at Selhurst Park. It hasn't quite clicked for them though, especially with Townsend, and both were tentatively linked with moves away last month. I suppose what I'm asking is, what's going on with them?
TEB: Benteke has been everything I had hoped he would be and has scored the goals expected of him which is the reason so much money was shelled out for him. Like any player, there are sides of his game that I would like to see improvement but for me, it is more a case of the team playing to his strengths more than anything else. As for Andros Townsend, that is a complete mystery. The only sign of any kind of form was against you guys earlier in the season where he scored an excellent goal. He came on in midweek in what was more than a cameo appearance to provide an excellent assist for Benteke so maybe, just maybe, he could finally get it together now that threat of him returning to Newcastle in the transfer window are over.
RR: In terms of incomings, you had a fairly busy window. As well as PVA you added Jeffrey Schlupp, Mamadou Sakho and Luka Milivojevic. Obviously you'll be looking for them all to have a big, immediate impact but do you think they will? Should you have brought in even more players?
I don't think many of us were too sure what to expect of Schlupp but from what we've seen of him so far, he has impressed, particularly with his amazing turn of pace. Getting Sakho on loan from Liverpool is considered a real coup, particularly as many Reds fans consider him their best defender, but the exciting one is the addition of Luka - a two footed, tough tacking, shot loving defensive midfielder, the likes of which we have not seen since we offloaded Mile Jedinak to Villa. He promises to be a real upgrade on our beloved former captain and I for one am looking forward to seeing him play.
RR: Since Victor Anichebe picked up an injury, Sunderland have struggled to supply Jermain Defoe. With that in mind, is there anyone in the Sunderland side who worries you?
TEB: Defoe, Defoe, Defoe and that guy called Defoe. No offence to the rest of your side but Jermain has always been a thorn in our side and we must really learn not to give him even the slightest glimpse of goal as he will find the net. Again.
RR: And who should Sunderland fans be worried about the Palace team? Who's in good form?
TEB: Wilfried Zaha returned from international duty at the AFCON with the Ivory Coast and their early exit is our gain, as we have missed him and there were plenty of glimpses of exactly what we have missed at Bournemouth in the week. He's always a tricky player to come up against and a real outlet for us, which we will use as often as possible.
RR: How do you see Allardyce approaching the game and what do you think the starting line up will be?
TEB: The last two Premier League games have seen a real change of formation so I fully expect the same starting line up to that at Bournemouth in the week, barring any injuries. Why change a winning side?Big Sam will know that more than anyone, particularly as I do not believe Sakho or Luka will be available to make their debuts.
RR: Finally, a prediction please?
TEB: This will not be easy as this is the kind of fixture that we have really messed up in the past, as you well know, but I think that with Big Sam in our dugout, he will not let that happen this time around. I am going for us to build on midweek and win this one by the same scoreline - 2-0!