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Premier League Preview: Sunderland v Stoke

Sunderland will be looking to bounce back from their 6-1 defeat to Aston Villa against Stoke on Monday.

After a good start to the Paolo Di Canio reign, which saw them beat both Newcastle and Everton, Sunderland were brought crashing down to earth with a result which sees them lingering just above the relegation zone.

On the same points as both Aston Villa and Newcastle beneath them, a win for Di Canio’s men would go a long way to securing their Premier League status but they will have to do so without Stephane Sessegnon, whose three-game ban begins on Monday.

“After two good wins, and the results we saw for Wigan and Newcastle [last weekend], we relaxed too much,” Di Canio said of the performance at Villa Park.

Their opponents come into the game having put an end to their poor form with two wins in a row but could be without three key players.

Marc Wilson, Andy Wilkinson and Glenn Whelan are all doubts for the game with hamstring, back and groin injuries.

There were fears that Tony Pulis’ men were drifting towards the relegation zone, but three points against both Queens Park Rangers and Norwich put an end to their slump.

This has also helped the Britannia Stadium outfit secure their Premier League status for another season, with Pulis saying survival is absolutely essential for the club.

“Success for us – and it always will be – is staying in the Premier League. Anything else is a bonus,” he stated.

Sunderland are unbeaten in their four previous home meetings with Stoke – something which will give Di Canio’s men confidence as they look to get back to winning ways.

Sat 4 May, 2013
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