Crystal Palace make the long trip north to the Stadium of Light for the first time since January 2007.
Both sides come into this crunch match in need of the points in the Premier League relegation battle. Palace currently lie in 16th place with 27 points from their 28 games, while Sunderland find themselves in the relegation zone, three points behind the Eagles but with two games in hand.
Palace have a decent record against the north east outfit down the years – but they have never won a competitive fixture at the Stadium of Light since the Black Cats moved there in 1997.
In fact, Palace’s last away win on Wearside came at Roker Park back in January 1982, in a 1-0 League Cup tie.
Eagles fans will have fond memories of the Stadium of Light from May 2004 though, where, despite a 2-1 defeat on the night, Palace triumphed on penalties in the Division One play-off semi-final.
This Saturday sees the sides meet as Premier League opponents for only the second time, following Palace’s 3-1 victory over Sunderland at Selhurst Park in August.
Sunderland: Sunderland have a fully-fit squad for this match apart from goalkeeper Keiren Westwood, who remains sidelined with injury. Wes Brown and Craig Gardner have been back in training this week so take their place in the squad.
Crystal Palace: Top scorer Marouane Chamakh will be forced to sit out a second successive game following the hamstring injury he picked up at Swansea City at the start of March. Barry Bannan has had flu and Danny Gabbidon suffered a knock this week but the gaffer will take a look at their fitness before deciding whether they will travel.
Referee: Neil Swarbrick
Assistants: J Flynn and S Long
Fourth official: Andre Marriner
|Sunderland wins||Draws||Palace wins|
LAST MEETING AT THE STADIUM OF LIGHT
Palace ground out a hard-fought 0-0 draw against Sunderland the last time they visited the Stadium of Light, when the clubs were opponents in the Championship.
The Black Cats, then managed by Roy Keane, were on a promotion charge, but Palace held firm to claim a point thanks to a solid defensive display by the likes of Mark Hudson, Leon Cort, Danny Butterfield and goalkeeper Gabor Kiraly.
Following the Eagles’ 1-0 win over Sunderland earlier on in the 2006/07 campaign, the result meant that Palace became one of only three Championship sides that Sunderland failed to beat that year on their charge to the Premier League.
The Black Cats pipped Birmingham to the title on the final day of the season and have been in the Premier League ever since.
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