Hull City manager Steve Bruce has more than a former job title in common with current Sunderland manager Gus Poyet.
Both clubs have managed just seven goals though nine Premier League matches heading into Saturday's meeting at the KC Stadium.
While it's Poyet's side that has conceded a league-high 21 goals, it's Bruce who is in danger of going winless in four straight, despite two encouraging results against Tottenham in the last week.
The Tigers (3-2-4) fell 1-0 in a top-flight match at White Hart Lane Sunday on an 80th-minute penalty. They then played to a 2-2 finish before falling 8-7 in penalties back at the Lane Wednesday in the Capital One Cup.
"We're only a quarter of the way through the season, but the way they're performing at big venues like Spurs, Everton, Chelsea and Manchester City is great," Bruce, the former Sunderland boss, told the club's official website. "It's disappointing to go out of the cup in the way we did, but I'm full of pride once again."
The Tigers led 2-1 in extra time on Paul McShane's 99th-minute goal, but Harry Kane leveled the match nine minutes later to send it to penalties. Brad Friedel stopped Ahmed Elmohamady in the ninth round to deny Hull a spot in the quarterfinals.
"We've got a fantastic squad and we've had two great run-outs in the last few days," said midfielder David Meyler, a former Sunderland player. "We've pushed Tottenham close to the barriers in those games and people have been giving us credit for those performances. That is credit to our manager's hard work. We're now looking at the Sunderland game wanting three points from it."
Despite the promise from solid showings against Spurs, the Tigers have produced just a goal in their last three league matches and have just one multi-goal game. They've lost two straight for the first time this season and are fighting through a handful of injuries.
The Black Cats (1-1-7) head to the KC Stadium having earned three points for the first time this season their last time out. A 2-1 derby victory over Newcastle United at the Stadium of Light brought them out of the bottom of the table and gave Poyet a win in his first home match since taking over as manager.
Fabio Borini came on in the 69th minute and scored the winner in the 84th. It was set up by Jozy Altidore, who is still looking for his first Premier League goal since joining the Wearsiders.
Altidore started up top with a healthy Steven Fletcher, and Fletcher accounted for Sunderland's first goal on a fifth-minute header.
But Borini's performance is giving Poyet some pause while determining his starting 11 selection for the weekend.
"I know a few managers prefer to have eleven in there and not too many pushing for a place," Poyet told the team's official website. "But I like to have those problems; it's then up to me to make decisions. I want to be in front of a group of players. As the coach of the club I want to make sure I am able to make strong and difficult decisions. That's better for the team. Now the only thing I have to do is make the right ones."
Sunderland won consecutive league matches three times last season, most recently on April 14 at Newcastle and April 20 against Everton.
"We've been on a high this week and everyone is delighted," goalkeeper Keiren Westwood said. "Hopefully this can kick-start our season. With the team and the talent we have, hopefully we can push on."
Hull City and Sunderland haven't met since April 24, 2010. The Black Cats won 1-0 at the KC Stadium.
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