Sunderland v Aston Villa

Aston Villa are strengthened by the return of Emile Heskey and Marc Albrighton, while Richard Dunne has overcome a gashed ankle.

Gabriel Agbonlahor remains sidelined after recent groin surgery, and Luke Young is out with a torn hamstring.


Doubtful: Richardson (hamstring)

Injured: Campbell & Meyler (both knee), Reid (hamstring)

Aston Villa

Injured: Agbonlahor (groin), Delph (knee), Weimann (ankle), L Young (hamstring)


The numbers are not adding up as either of these clubs would like.

I am hoping we can start turning these draws into wins. It's a bit frustrating really because we could easily have had two or three more wins and been sitting in the top six

Sunderland manager Steve Bruce

Another draw for Sunderland would equal a club record of six in a row. They last did that in 1949, the year that classic film noir The Third Man was released.

Only two men have scored in a Sunderland shirt this season, with Darren Bent in the leading role. He has accounted for more than half of the club's goals since he joined last year.

Sunderland have not beaten Villa at the Stadium of Light in their last five attempts, and visiting manager Gerard Houllier lost only one of his previous four league matches against opposite number Steve Bruce - all for Liverpool against Birmingham.

Villa fans might appreciate that but their team's current away form is poor, having lost four of their last five matches. They have also dropped eight points from winning positions this season, prompting Houllier to call the players in for extra fitness training.



• Sunderland have only won one of their last nine league meetings against Villa (W1, D2, L6).

• Villa have taken 10 points from their last four visits to the Stadium of Light, as well as knocking Sunderland out of last season's League Cup on penalties.

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• Sunderland have drawn five successive top-flight matches for the first time since 1984. Their club record of six successive draws was set in April 1949.

• They are unbeaten at home this season and have only lost once in 14 games since the 2-0 defeat by Villa in December (W5, D8, L1).

• Darren Bent has scored 53% of Sunderland's league goals since he joined the club in August 2009.

Aston Villa

• Villa have dropped eight points from winning positions this season, the second worst record in the top flight behind Wolves.

• They have only managed three points out of the last possible 15 away from home.

• The three teams that Aston Villa have beaten this season are all in the bottom half of the table.

• They have committed 123 fouls this season - more than any other club in the division.



Bent: 7 goals (5 league); Gyan: 2 goals (1 league)

Aston Villa

Downing: 3 goals (3 league); Heskey & A Young: 3 goals (1 league)


Referee: Mark Halsey

Assistant referees: Paul Thompson & Glenn Turner

Fourth official: Rob Shoebridge


Sunderland (D0-0 v Blackburn, a): Mignolet; Onuoha (Gyan 64), Turner, Bramble, Bardsley, Malbranque (Zenden 75), Cattermole, Elmohamady, Henderson, Welbeck, Bent. Subs not used: Gordon, Mensah, Da Silva, Riveros, Ferdinand.

Aston Villa (D0-0 v Chelsea, h): Friedel; Beye, Dunne (Clark 13), Collins, Warnock, A Young, Reo-Coker, Petrov, Ireland (Sidwell 84), Downing, Carew (Delfouneso 74). Subs not used: Guzan, Cuellar, Bannan, Lichaj.

Source: BBC Sport