Steve Bruce’s Sunderland team is looking to extend its six-games unbeaten run with a rare home victory against Saturday’s visitors Aston Villa.
Online bookmakers are offering free bets to new customers and money back special offers for the Premier League clash between Sunderland and Aston Villa at the Stadium of Light which kicks off at 3.00pm.
Villa were one of three teams to win at the SoL last season and are unbeaten in their last five games on Wearside.
Sunderland boss, Bruce has changed tactics this term favouring a 4-5-1 formation which has borne results with the third best defensive record in the league so far.
But Sunderland have managed just one win this season with six draws as the Black Cats have struggled to find the back of the net on a regular basis.
Bruce has admitted his team is over reliant on goals from striker Darren Bent who has scored 32 times in 49 appearances and at some point must decide when to ask £13million signing Asamoah Gyan to start and begin making his contribution.
Bent started in the goalless draw at Blackburn on Monday despite fitness concerns but will be fully recovered for Saturday’s game.
Stan James bet 9/2 for Bent to continue his prolific scoring record and net the first goal of the game.
Kieran Richardson’s return has been delayed following a training setback prior to the Blackburn game and Andy Reid misses out with a similar hamstring problem.
Midfielder David Meyler has returned to training as he continues his recovery from a long term knee injury while Fraizier Campbell remains sidelined with his knee problem.
Gerard Houlier will see this as a good opportunity to halt Villa’s poor away form this season and hope Villa’s hoodoo over the Black Cats will continue on Saturday; Stan James are offering odds of 23/10 for Villa to win.
Houlier can recall winger Marc Albrighton and striker Emile Heskey who missed last week’s draw with Chelsea due to injury.
Defender Richard Dunne was substituted after cutting his ankle in that game but is fit for Saturday’s match.
Striker Gabriel Agbonlahor is recovering from an operation on his groin and full-back Luke Young will also miss out due to a torn hamstring.
Possible starting lineups:
SUNDERLAND: Mignolet, Onuoha, Bramble, Turner, Bardsley, Elmohamady, Cattermole, Henderson, Malbranque, Bent, Welbeck.
ASTON VILLA: Friedel, Beye, Collins, Dunne, Warnock, Downing, Petrov, Reo-Coker, A Young, Ireland, Heskey.