What Sunderland and Tony Mowbray can expect from their next five fixtures after World Cup break

Sunderland will return to Championship action when they face Millwall at the Stadium of Light this weekend – before the start of a busy festive schedule.

Black Cats boss Tony Mowbray is expected to have several first-team players available again after a three-week World Cup break and multiple injury setbacks.

Here’s what Sunderland can expect in the coming weeks:

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Millwall (H) Saturday, December 3 (12:30pm kick-off)

Sunderland boss Tony Mowbray. Picture by FRANK REID

Don’t be caught out by the early kick-off time.

Sunderland decided to shorten their World Cup break by rearranging their fixture with Millwall for this weekend.

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Like the Black Cats, Millwall have also played a friendly match during the World Cup break and drew 1-1 with Danish side Brondby last week.

That match allowed club captain Shaun Hutchinson to play 45 minutes after four games out with a groin injury.

Hutchinson could return to a backline which has kept two clean sheets in Millwall’s last three games, while a 4-2 win at Preston saw Gary Rowett’s side climb to sixth in the table.

West Brom (H) Monday, December 12 (8pm kick-off)

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Another Sunderland fixture which has been moved after being selected for TV broadcast.

After a dismal start to the season, which saw former Sunderland boss Steve Bruce dismissed, West Brom’s results have improved under new boss Carlos Corberan.

Since a 2-0 defeat by Sheffield United in the Spaniard’s opening game, West Brom have beaten Blackpool, QPR and Stoke without conceding/

They remain 21st in the Championship table but, after being one of the pre-season promotion favourites, could improve their position quickly in a congested division.

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Hull (A) Saturday, December 17 (3pm kick-off)

Sunderland’s final match before Christmas.

Hull have also changed their manager recently after Liam Rosenior replaced Shota Arveladze at the MKM Stadium.

Rosenior will have to try and address The Tigers’ leaky defence, which has conceded 39 league goals (the most in the division) this season,

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In his three games in charge Hull’s new boss has recorded a draw, a win and a loss – which came after his side conceded in stoppage-time during a 2-1 defeat by Reading.

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Blackburn (H) Monday, December 26 (12:30pm kick-off)

This year’s Boxing Day fixture has also been brought forward as Mowbray faces his former side for a second time.

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Rovers remain third in the table after winning five of their last seven league games, but have suffered some heavy defeats – such as a 3-0 defeat at Burnley last time out.

Jon Dahl Tomasson’s side have also lost by three goals against Reading and Sheffield United this season, but have won eight games by a one-goal margin.

With top scorer Ben Brereton Diaz on nine Championship goals, Rovers will be hoping to sustain their promotion push after the break.

Wigan (A) Thursday, December 29 (7:45pm kick-off)

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When Sunderland face Wigan in their final match of the year, it will be Kolo Toure’s fourth match in charge of The Latics.

The former Arsenal and Manchester City defender has signed a three and a half-year deal at the DW Stadium following Leam Richardson’s sacking.

Despite a 2-1 win over Blackpool last time out, Wigan remain in the relegation zone with the third worst defensive record in the Championship.