IN the midst of a winless streak stretching back to January, a trip to battling Birmingham is not the ideal fixture, but to be honest if a home game against West Brom ends in defeat, then any fixture in the Premier League is a potential banana skin.
In the fallout following the Baggies debacle, we have had Niall promising a summer investigation, Phil Bardsley promising a return to form, and Steve Bruce blaming everything in sight (except himself, of course) for our poor run of form.
To be honest though, all the talk in the world cannot disguise our poor performances, and it is up to the players to start earning their thousands of pounds at St Andrew’s.
Our treatment room remains the most lively place at the club, and we go into the game with a defensive crisis. Anton Ferdinand, John Mensah, and Titus Bramble are sidelined, leaving Nedum Onuoha and Michael Turner as our only centre-back pairing. At full-back, I expect Bardsley to switch to the right, leaving Kieran Richardson to fill the gap at left-back.
Birmingham have had an eventful season, and despite being in a relegation battle, have had a Wembley win to savour. Under Alex McLeish, they are a well-organised outfit, work desperately hard for one another, and have a little-known striker in Kevin Phillips up front.
Apparently, he has an eye for goal, and it is probably written in the stars that he will bag one tomorrow.
I would love to predict a rip-roaring game with the Wearsiders coming out on top, but unfortunately a victory for our injury-hit side is a long way off, and all I can see is another loss.
Prediction: Birmingham 1 Sunderland 0
To read the rest of the Jury, please see tonight’s Sunderland Echo.