Sunderland host Millwall in a rearranged Sky Bet Championship clash at Stadium of Light.
Victory would see Sunderland improve to tenth in the table, whilst Millwall can go fourth with a win.
Ross Stewart could return for Sunderland following his recovery from a thigh injury, although manager – Tony Mowbray has admitted he won’t risk Stewart as part of easing him back into first-team contention.
Lynden Gooch (foot) and Aji Alese (ankle) are expected to be available for selection but Dan Ballard (foot) remains absent.
Millwall could welcome Shaun Hutchinson back from a hamstring injury which had sidelined him since October.
Ryan Leonard and Tyler Burey both remain absent with serious hamstring injuries, whilst Benik Afobe (knee) is also sidelined.
- Sunderland have won just one of their last six league meetings against Millwall (W1, D2, L3).
- Millwall have won just one of their last nine league visits to Sunderland (W1, D3, L5).
- Sunderland are yet to lose a home game against Millwall played during the month of December in all competitions (W3, D2).
- Sunderland have won just one of their last five home matches (W1, D2 ,L2).
- Five of Zian Flemming’s eight league goals for Millwall this season have been scored away from home.
Having enjoyed a positive mid-season break which allowed the recovery of some key players who had been absent with injury recently, Sunderland hopefully can now look to show more of the attacking quality which served them well in the opening weeks and against Birmingham a few weeks ago.
Millwall meanwhile have quietly worked their way up the table with Zian Flemming in particular looking a dangerous threat, especially away from home, plus have lost just one of their last nine matches so it will be interesting to see how the break has affected their momentum after their win at Preston.
This game however is a huge opportunity for Gary Rowett’s Lions to go fourth in the promotion race so I do expect them to come out fighting, amidst their poor away form at Sunderland but both teams do have the quality to really go for the win here.
Patience though is likely to be needed here but given Sunderland’s recent defensive issues, Millwall might just edge this battle.
Prediction: Sunderland 1-2 Millwall
Result: Sunderland 3-0 Millwall