Tony Mowbray’s side have only lost two of their last six matches in the division and will be looking to push into the top six with a win against his former team.
Mowbray does look set to be without one of his regular starters at Ewood Park, though, as he provided an injury update heading into the match, saying: “I don’t think Lynden’s going to be available, although it’s Lynden Gooch we’re talking about, so he might well come in and say he’s feeling great.”
This opens up a space in the team out wide and the Sunderland head coach must now unleash Amad Diallo, who is on loan from Manchester United, from the start.
The Ivory Coast international has only started one game in the Championship since completing his move to Wearside but could come into the team in place of Gooch.
Journalist Josh Bunting claimed that the forward injected a “spark” into Sunderland when he came on against Wigan and Mowbray can now energise his side again by naming the 20-year-old in his starting XI.
Bunting described his talent as “exceptional” and his statistics at youth level suggest that there is a very promising player ready to be unearthed there.
The wizard also found the back of the net three times in four Premiership starts on loan at Scottish giants Glasgow Rangers last season, which highlights his potential as a goalscorer at first-team level.
Diallo has the ability to make a big impact in the final third, with his goals and assists, and could spark the team into life with a contribution at the top end of the pitch. That is why Mowbray should bring him into the starting XI as he could be the difference maker for the Black Cats.