Sunderland Play Tony Adams’, Portsmouth in the Premier League, at the Stadium of Light on Saturday.
Roy Keane will be hoping the Black Cats can bounce straight back from last weekends 5-0 drubbing to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, which emphasised the gulf in class between Sunderland and the top sides. However, Sunderland boss Keane is slowly building a squad in the North East, which is more than capable of competing in the Premiership and will relish the chance to pit his wits against former adversary on the pitch Adams. A win is vital for the Black Cats as they sit just one point above the bottom three.
New Pompey boss Adams never settled for anything less than 100% as a player for Arsenal and will not have liked being beaten 2-1 at Fratton Park by Wigan Athletic last weekend in his first match in charge. Adams will be looking forward to locking horns again with Keane as they face each other as managers for the first time. Pompey have not won in their last four games in the Premiership and Adams knows the importance of a win if the South coast club are to keep pace at the sharp end of the league.
Sunderland will be without David Connolly (groin) and Darren Ward (back), with record signing goalkeeper Craig Gordon likely to recover from a sprained ankle in time to face Pompey. Striker Kenwyne Jones could start in attack with Djibril Cisse, with Nyron Nosworthy and Anton Ferdinand likely to be Keane’s chosen central- defender pairing. Michael Chopra rejoined Cardiff City on loan this week.
Adams is unable to call on striker David Nugent, who is a week away from fitness with a groin problem, while fringe player Glenn Little could be fit in time for the visit to the Stadium of Light if he can shake off a hamstring injury.
Sunderland: (from) Gordon, Nosworthy, Ferdinand, McCartney, Malbranque, Leadbitter, Whitehead, Bardsley, Cisse, Richardson, Diouf, Miller, Murphy, Collins, Jones, Yorke, Reid, Chimbonda, Healy, M’Voto, Hartley, Fulop, Waghorn, Dowson, Meyler, Prica, Colgan
Portsmouth: (from) James, Johnson, Distin, Campbell, Belhadj, Kranjcar, Utaka, Diarra, Defoe, Crouch, Kaboul, Lauren, Hreidarsson, Diop, Thomas, Pamarot, Mvuemba, Ashdown, Hughes, Duffy, Sahar, Kanu, Davis, A Traore, D Traore, Wilson, Little