Steve Kean claimed his first win as Blackburn boss this week to placate rumours of a mutiny at Ewood Park. Exactly how much faith the new owners have in Kean’s leadership may be in evidence over the next few weeks, as they look to bankroll squad reinforcement.
Sunderland were played off the park at Old Trafford on Boxing Day and with a number of key players still missing, Blackburn will fancy their chances of taking something from their trip to Tyneside. Rovers must be aware, however, of the Black Cats’ fearsome record at the Stadium of Light over the last 12 months.
Titus Bramble should return to relieve some of Steve Bruce’s selection headaches, and with a formidable strike force up front, Sunderland will certainly possess some threat to Kean’s attempts at steadying the Blackburn ship.
Major defensive weaknesses could still come back to haunt Sunderland here, particularly if Bramble is lacking in match sharpness, but with Nikola Kalinic serving a domestic suspension for his sending off against West Brom, these shortcomings may not be exposed by an occasionally toothless Rovers.