Premier League preview: Sunderland v Swansea
By Football News
Sunderland manager Martin O'Neill will be desperate to get defenders Danny Rose and Carlos Cuellar back for the visit of Swansea on Tuesday.
With Swansea having only lost two of their past 14 matches in the English Premier League, 11th-placed Sunderland will be hard-pressed to overcome the Welsh club, who sit two spots above them on the table.
O'Neill may need Cuellar and Rose to shore up his defence, which has leaked 10 goals in Sunderland's past five fixtures across all competitions.
Cuellar and Rose both missed Sunderland's 3-2 victory away to Wigan with hamstring injuries, while captain Lee Cattermole may also be back having been left out last week with a knee problem.
After being eliminated from the FA Cup by Bolton in a third-round replay earlier this month, Sunderland did not play over the weekend, meaning they should be fresh for the visit of Swansea.
The Welsh club, however, have been flat out with 10 games in a month, including last Wednesday's League Cup semi-final second-leg draw, which completed a 2-0 aggregate victory over Chelsea.
Tuesday's clash at the Stadium of Light will be a big one for Swansea striker Danny Graham as a good performance from him could be the final step in ensuring a move to Sunderland.
Graham has started just 10 Premier League matches this season and has slotted three goals in his 17 league appearances.
Swansea manager Michael Laudrup seems happy to let the 27-year-old striker go and if Graham gets on the pitch and scores, it may convince Sunderland to get the deal over the line.
Laudrup may very well use Graham, as Swansea have scored just five goals in as many matches across all competitions, failing to get on the scoreboard at all in three of those games.
With Sunderland and Swansea having rarely been in the same division over the past few decades, Laudrup's side will break an almost 31-year drought if they win at the Stadium of Light.
Swansea's last victory at Sunderland came in February, 1982 in the old Division One when the north-eastern club used to play at Roker Park.