Sunderland captain John O’Shea is hopeful of nullifying AFC Bournemouth’s attacking threat when they visit the Vitality Stadium hoping for a first win of the Premier League season.
Dick Advocaat’s men have taken just two points from their first five games, with only north-east rivals Newcastle United below them in the table on goal difference.
Newly promoted AFC Bournemouth are only two points above the Wearsiders, but have impressed going forward in the club’s debut top-flight campaign.
The highlight for Eddie Howe’s side came in a 4-3 victory at West Ham and O’Shea – who enjoyed a loan spell at AFC Bournemouth in the early stages of his Manchester United career – believes the encounter will serve as another difficult challenge for Sunderland.
“Hopefully we’ll be able to upset them on Saturday,” O’Shea said. “We know it’ll be a good test because they’ve made a very good impact in terms of how they approach the game.
“They don’t really sit back and settle for a draw. They really try to win games, which is how they finished the Championship season – scoring so many goals with that attacking threat.
“But hopefully we can use that to our advantage too.”
Sunderland striker Duncan Watmore is expected to miss the game due to illness, meaning Adam Johnson will come into the squad after recovering from a dislocated shoulder suffered in the opening-day loss at Leicester City.
Charlie Daniels (knee) is likely to miss out for AFC Bournemouth, while Harry Arter (groin), Max Gradel and Tyrone Mings (both knee) are all unavailable.
After strong performances against West Ham and Leicester, last weekend’s 3-1 defeat at Norwich City came as a big disappointment to the south-coast club.
And striker Joshua King is keen to ensure AFC Bournemouth do not repeat the same mistakes this time around.
“After the international break we wanted to go on a run and do well so we were disappointed by the performance and the lost points,” King said.
“We were slow to close down [against Norwich]. I don’t think we kept the ball too well and didn’t create as many chances as we have done in the past few games.
“We are a possession team – in most games we keep the ball more than the opposition but we didn’t do that.
“We need to put in some good training and turn it around against Sunderland on Saturday.”