Sam Lightle gives us the lowdown on today's opponents
Ahead of Wednesday's clash at the Stadium of Light, Bluemoon caught up with Sam Lightle from Sportsbyte Sunderland to get the lowdown on the opposition...
What are your expectations for this season?
A more steady campaign would be nice. We don't want the uncertainty or the insecurity we had for all of last season. A mid-table finish would be great.
Are you happy with the manager?
Definitely. Tactically, Gus Poyet is one of the best in the league. He gets the team playing in a really organised and rigid way, which means we can really push the top sides all the way. We do need to start turning all these draws into wins but Poyet is the man who can change that...
Who are your key players?
Lee Cattermole is the heart of our midfield. His passion and desire define everything that’s great about Sunderland. Going forward Steven Fletcher is back to his old self. He might have only scored four goals this season but his performances have certainly warranted more.
Were you happy with the business conducted during the transfer window?
It's hard to say really. Jack Rodwell hasn't really been involved, while Ricky Alvarez, Billy Jones and Sebastian Coates have spent more time on the injury table than they have in the team.
Are there any rising stars in the squad that we might not have heard of?
Duncan Watmore is the real eye catching talent in our development squad. He is a tricky little winger who consistently produces top performances. He has a great awareness and for a small lad he can hold off a challenge well.
Your Achilles heel?
At times we shoot ourselves in our own foot defensively. In recent months, the goals we've conceded haven't been for the opposition's class but more for our complete defensive incompetence. We gift teams goals e.g. the Santiago Vergini goal against Southampton. Out of the blue. After we dominated the first 10 minutes.
If you could have any City player in your team who would you choose?
Sergio Aguero is a top class player. Probably the best striker in the world right now. For such a small guy he has incredible power and pace, which means he can play upfront on his own.
What is your perception of City as a club?
City are a good club. You might have all the money in the world (or seemingly so), but you've got good fans and I wouldn't say you expect success. You appreciate the fact you've had some tough times and you all seem grateful now the good times have come. Never change.
Likely starting XI for the game, and score prediction?
Costel Pantilimon; Santiago Vergini, John O'Shea, Wes Brown, Anthony Reveillere; Lee Cattermole, Sebastian Larsson, Jack Rodwell; Will Buckley, Connor Wickham, Steven Fletcher. Sunderland 0 City 2