Tony Mowbray’s team were held to a 1-1 draw by Blackpool in their last outing in the league and a win against the Swans could push them into the play-off places, as they currently sit one point adrift of the top six.
Ahead of the match, Mowbray confirmed that experienced central defender Danny Batth is now back in training with the first-team after a spell on the sidelines.
He has not featured in a Championship match since the 1-1 draw with Hull on the 17th of December and the manager must finally bring the enforcer back into the starting XI now that the gem is fit and available.
In the Championship this season, Batth has won a staggering 71% of his aerial battles against opposition players. The machine has won 3.9 headers and made 4.5 clearances per game, whilst also winning 55% of his ground duels, and this shows that he is immense in the air and rarely gets beaten by forwards.
This suggests that the Australian international is a significant downgrade on the ex-Stoke man in terms of what he offers in the air, from open play and set-pieces, for Sunderland.
Therefore, Mowbray must bring Batth, who started the first 23 matches of the campaign, back into the starting line-up so that he can dominate Swansea’s players in the box.
The Swansea have scored four more goals than the Black Cats from set-pieces this season and this indicates that they can cause a threat from balls into the area, which is why bringing the 32-year-back in could be key for Sunderland.