We’ll see tonight whether the Sunderland’s 10-day break has been put to good use, but at the very least, fans will want to see a performance full of hard work and energy.
Manchester City had an FA Cup tie against Aston Villa on Saturday and as they are still in the Champions League and reached the Capital One Cup final, their workload has been far greater than ours, so we should be fresher.
Of course, it helps that City have a deep squad, full of quality players, when even the ones on the bench would probably be automatic choices for Sunderland’s starting XI.
Picking a dangerman out for City seems pointless, as they have so many match-winners, but Sergio Aguero is a special talent whose speed of thought and movement sets him apart and he can make fools of the best defenders.
More worryingly, he loves playing at the Stadium of Light, where I’ve seen him run our defenders ragged while delivering outstanding performances down the years.
Having already conceded eight goals to City in two games this season, Sunderland are not in a great place psychologically, but they must perform better than they did in the first half of the last home game, as tonight’s visitors will be far more ruthless than Bournemouth.
Sunderland have the worst record in the league when it comes to conceding early goals, so the last thing we need is City getting off to a flyer, as you can only fear the worst if that happens.
The days of our astonishing four consecutive 1-0 home wins against City seem a long time ago now.
Each and every one of those victories was special and so important, and what a boost it would be for players and fans if the team could defy the odds and get another one tonight.