These two sides met in the F.A. Cup 3rd Round back in January with the game ended goalless, it was the kind of game that if time was unlimited and it was first goal wins they would still be searching for that all important goal to finally end the tie.
The caveat was that perhaps neither manager was ranking it too high on their list of priorities with both sides taking the opportunity to rest key players, the reason it would not be top priority is because Premier League survival is the underlying task for this season and it is one that Sunderland are at present not achieving.
Not only that but their plight is beginning to worsen as David Moyes’ men are 6 points adrift at the bottom of the table with just 11 games to turn things around. If 40 points is the accepted benchmark for a club to stay up then Sunderland are going to have to win 7 of those last 11, even the most optimistic Sunderland fan will accept that it is a tall order.
Jermaine Defoe celebrated a recall to the England squad earlier in the week and he will be looking to cap those celebrations by finding the set later Today. Not only that though he will want to make sure that his contribution leads to an all important win.
Sunderland were not in action last weekend but they would have been helped by the fact that Hull managed to pick up three points and make this uphill task more of a climb up the mountain, it’s now three successive defeats for The Black Cats with no win since thumping fellow strugglers Crystal Palace 4-0 last month.
That game was almost a false sense of optimism as the very next game they then lost 4-0 at home to Southampton, one step forward and two massive steps back. Today they need to end the run of defeats with not just a point on the board but all three points.
The one thing that will perhaps give them hope is the fact that Burnley have still failed to win on the road this season but thanks to their incredible home form they have managed to find themselves 12th in the table and needed just three wins to all but confirm their Premier League status for another season.
Last weekend they were one of the few teams to actually have a league fixture as Sean Dyche took his side to Anfield to face Liverpool. It started brightly with the Lancashire outfit going ahead but that deficit was overturned by the home side as they solidified their bid for a top four finish come the end of the season.
If Sunderland feel they can get all three points due to Burnley’s poor away form then conversely The Clarets will feel that they can finally break their road trip jinx this Afternoon when they travel to the North East to face the league’s basement side.
Sunderland desperately need wins, Burnley not so much but obviously they would like to not go through a whole season without managing to win away from home so the tie is neatly poised but I have a feeling these two sides will cancel each other out and it will end in a draw.