We're headed south again. No, not THERE, but to Loftus Road. The Premier League is all that matters remember.
Sunderland Team News
Gus Poyet has a number of options to consider after the midweek win over Birmingham City in the Capital One Cup.
Adam Johnson recovered from illness to score on his return, and it is highly likely that he will retain his position, whilst an encouraging finish to the game will make the cases for both Jordi Gomez and the almost fit-again Emanuele Giaccherini. However, Will Buckley will be hoping that his performance against Manchester United has earned him a place in the side.
Queens Park Rangers Team News
Harry Redknapp veered from his three-at-the-back experiment on Wednesday night to little joy - as League Two side Burton Albion progressed to the third round at the London club's expense - so it remains to be seen just how Rangers will approach this game.
SAFC: Mannone; Vergini, Brown, O'Shea, van Aaholt; Cattermole; Johnson, Rodwell, Larsson, Buckley; Wickham
QPR: Green; Caulker, Ferdinand, Dunne; Isla, Barton, Mutch, Fer, Hoilett; Phillips, Remy
Key Matchup: Connor Wickham vs Steven Caulker
The last time the pair met, Wickham recorded a unanimous victory with two goals and a commanding showing against the then-Cardiff City centre-back.
Even if Wickham is not deployed as a centre-forward, then it is likely that his starting left-sided position will see him attack Caulker should QPR retain faith in a back three. Caulker finds himself at a new club, in a system where he does not seem entirely comfortable.
From there, it is important that Wickham utilises his strength and direct mind-set to potentially isolate Caulker from his defensive partners - whether it be for himself or to create space for his team-mates to attack.
Recent Form: LLL
Loss: Queens Park Rangers 0-1 Hull City (Chester 52)
Loss: Tottenham Hotspur 4-0 Queens Park Rangers (Chadli 12, 37, Dier 30, Adebayor 65)
Loss: Burton Albion 1-0 Queens Park Rangers (McGurk 77)
Last Time Around: Queens Park Rangers 3-1 Sunderland, 09/03/2013
One of the final straws for Martin O'Neill's reign in charge, his side had taken the lead through Steven Fletcher before Loic Remy levelled.
Late goals followed, as did misery. It would be one of eight games without a win before O'Neill was replaced by Paolo Di Canio.
The Ref: Robert Madley
The game will be the West Yorkshire man's first Premier League duty of the season having officiated two Championship fixtures thus far.
In the past two seasons, Madley has only oversaw two Sunderland games - last season's 1-0 win over Stoke City and a 2-0 Capital One Cup success over Morecambe the previous campaign.
Given this part of the preview is usually bemoaning our fortune with certain officials, hopefully a 100% record with this one can be maintained.
What The Managers Said
We're in good shape. There are no excuses as we're strong. We're not the biggest group but that makes it easier to be together. People are pushing for places and the idea is to go there and win.
We had a good 45 minutes against West Brom, Manchester United and Birmingham City in the Capital One Cup. I want to extend that to an hour, 75 minutes to give us a great chance to win. We got good results playing well for just 45 minutes but we need to extend that.
It's important we forget about [Wednesday] as quickly as possible and focus on Saturday's game with Sunderland which is massive now.
We need to get up and running in the league as soon as possible.
Roker Report Predicts
A first league win...for Sunderland. Both sides are still searching for their first three-pointer, but the Black Cats look a more settled, cohesive unit. Whilst that may not say much for Gus Poyet's side considering QPR's early season form, they are still to find the rhythm that lead to their great escape last season.
Despite the home side's defensive issues, they have potential match-winners in Remy and reported Sunderland target Jordon Mutch - although Lee Cattermole's defensive responsibility kept the latter quiet in their most recent meeting. With that in mind, we'll go for a 2-1 away win.
- Sports & Recreation
- Queens Park Rangers
- Steven Fletcher
- Lee Cattermole
- Gus Poyet
- Connor Wickham
- Premier League
- Manchester United
- Capital One
- Jack Rodwell