Victories over Carlisle, Manchester United and an emphatic win at Fulham last weekend mean Gus Poyet's team can take on the Saints confident of an upset at the Stadium of Light.Southampton rounds off a turbulent week with a tricky encounter at Sunderland on Saturday.
There have been well-publicized changes at the boardroom level for Southampton this week, with Nicola Cortese resigning as chairman Wednesday and club owner Katharina Liebherr taking on the role of non-executive chairman.
Cortese's departure led to immediate speculation that manager Mauricio Pochettino could resign, given the Argentinian's previous threats to walk away if Cortese left the club. However, Pochettino reiterated his commitment to Southampton on Thursday and will now turn his attention to on-field matters at the Stadium of Light this weekend.
Although Sunderland is in the Premier League relegation zone, Gus Poyet's men have lost just one of their last nine matches across all competitions. However, no top-flight club has struggled more at home than Sunderland, which has taken just seven points from 10 league outings in front of their own fans.
Southampton's away record has been similarly unimpressive of late, with Pochettino's side managing just one win from eight games on the road. The south-coast outfit was also beaten 2-1 at Sunderland in a Capital One Cup tie in November, but is seeking back-to-back Premier League wins after a 1-0 triumph over West Brom last time out.
Sunderland is looking for its first successive wins in the league since April, and heads into the match on the back of three straight victories in all competitions.
Its latest triumph was a morale-boosting 4-1 success at Fulham, which featured a hat trick from in-form winger Adam Johnson. That win lifted Sunderland off the foot of the table, and moved it to within one point of safety.
The home side has no fresh injury worries, but goalkeeper Keiren Westwood (shoulder) remains sidelined. Pablo Daniel Osvaldo serves the last game of a three-match suspension for Southampton, which will also be missing Victor Wanyama (leg).