THIS is now a must-win after the sorry performance against Middlesbrough. It is quite hard to believe just how poor we have been as an attacking threat over the last few weeks.
Against Villa, I really expect the front line to begin to click, otherwise a few alarm bells may start ringing. The game also heralds the return of Darren Bent, even though he is struggling to get a game. If he does get any time on the pitch, we have to be very wary.
Hopefully Craig Gardner will be deployed in midfield against his former club. We need players who are willing to take a shot rather than pass when the opportunity presents itself.
Adam Johnson and Sessegnon can look to attack the Villa defence at every opportunity. Johnson has been struggling to make an impact in recent games, but if he can stick to the wing, take on his man and put in a few decent crosses it could make all the difference.
Prediction: Sunderland 2 Villa 1.
To read the rest of the Echo Jury, please see tonight’s Sunderland Echo.