Match preview: Sunderland v Villa
Sunderland v Villa
Jores Okore could return for the trip to Sunderland.
But Gabby Agbonlahor and Carlos Sanchez are both doubts.
Okore has been in good form since returning to the side for the Southampton encounter.
Agbonlahor is struggling with a back problem and hasn't been training.
Sanchez, meanwhile, came off against West Ham with a hamstring issue.
The midfielder missed the Canaries encounter and is set to be absent at the Stadium of Light as he continues his recovery.
Meanwhile, the Black Cats are struggling in the defensive department.
Sebastian Coates is a doubt after limping off against Liverpool.
With Younes Kaboul (hamstring) sidelined, manager Sam Allardyce will hope captain John O'Shea (calf) can return, but midfielder Jack Rodwell (hamstring) is set to miss to miss out.
It is a very important game but this is not the last chance we will have to be fair.
There are still a lot of points to be done. Let's see what happens.
We will go there to win.
I want my team to have the best spirit they can have - everyone in this club, particularly me and the players - have to show the best we can do.
I am sure the players will be very, very committed.
What we have to do is play our best against Aston Villa and win.
That's the real nerve-tester - and we must keep our nerve.
Even though they have had a couple more days to get ready, we have to make sure we are ready physically and mentally to go out there and get the three points.
We have to keep going, we have to keep believing.
We have to keep our nerve and make sure we are ready for our big clash on Saturday.
We were good against West Ham but just couldn't make that extra breakthrough to win the game.
Now that's in the past.
We must start again, look at it as a new beginning - and hit the ground running.
If we can produce our best form and win at Sunderland that will give us a huge boost heading into the other games in January.
If we can have a very productive January, that would set us up for a very exciting end to the season.
As a forward you do think about that teams that you have score against and for some reason that seems to happen all the time so hopefully I can make it nine and if I score and win the game and we get three points then that's the most important thing.
People always talk about New Year's resolutions and I suppose as a team we can sit down and say it's a new year and a new start.
Let's stick together and fight between now and the end of the season.
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Villa have lost none of the last nine Barclays Premier League meetings with Sunderland (W4 D5).
The Villans have won the last three encounters at the Stadium of Light without conceding a goal.
Scott Sinclair scored both of Aston Villa's goals in their 2-2 draw with Sunderland earlier this season.
Gabriel Agbonlahor has scored five goals in his last five Premier League appearances against Sunderland and four in the last three at the Stadium of Light.
Villa are without a win in 18 matches (D5 L13); extending their longest ever winless run in their league history.
Sunderland have conceded just three goals in their five Premier League home games under Sam Allardyce, but all three of these goals have contributed to 0-1 defeats.
The Black Cats have failed to score in six of the last eight Premier League games against Villa.
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