Good afternoon and welcome to Mirror Football’s live coverage of Sunderland and Leicester.
David Moyes will hope to bounce back after losing at Liverpool, despite blunting the Reds for large spells.
Who knows what might have happened had David Moyes responded positively to Leicester’s overtures following Nigel Pearson’s departure. Instead they turned to Claudio Ranieri and the rest is history but the champions arrive on Wearside with a stumble in their step and only five more points than their bottom-placed hosts. Yet if Ranieri is mildly anxious, Moyes remains desperate for a win. Much hinges on whether Sunderland’s Jermain Defoe and Victor Anichebe and Leicester’s Jamie Vardy have their shooting boots on. Louise Taylor
Sunderland defender Papy Djilobodji is available after suspension and could replace John O’Shea.
Lynden Gooch faces a lengthy lay-off with an ankle problem but Jan Kirchhoff is back after a two-month absence because of a hamstring injury.
Leicester midfielder Nampalys Mendy could return from the ankle injury that has kept him out since August.
Ben Chilwell is also fit but Danny Drinkwater remains suspended and Kasper Schmeichel is out with a broken hand.
Alan Green: “I admit I was even more surprised than most when Leicester became champions, so I did expect an adverse reaction this season. Not to this extent though.
“Claudio “Ranieri’s team needs to get its act together quickly, particularly in relation to Jamie Vardy and his goals drought, or else, come the New Year, Champions League progress and a real relegation battle will become uneasy bed companions.
“Sunderland’s plight? Sadly, ’twas ever thus. If it wasn’t for Jermain Defoe I think they’d have gone down last season.
“Despite their mini-revival of two wins in their last three league games, I suspect even they foresee struggles ahead.”
Leicester failed to win again last week, but did rally to claim a 2-2 draw against Boro, though it leaves them two points off the drop.
Claudio Ranieri’s side have Champions League action next week, but having already qualified and secured top spot, they simply must generate some momentum in the league.
The Stadium of Light will be packed out and Moyes will hope to reinstall Papy Djilobodji to the line-up following his suspension.
Danny Drinkwater remains out through suspension, while Ron-Robert Zieler will continue to deputise for the injured Kasper Schmeichel. Summer signing Nampalys Mendy could return after injury and Claudio Ranieri expects the midfielder and other signings to come good in the second half of the season.
“If you saw Riyad (Mahrez), he started (playing well) in the second year, the first year was normal,” said the Italian.
“If he needed six or seven months then imagine the others. But the recruitment and the system of the recruitment I’m happy with.”
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