Martin O'Neill and his team prepare to visit Ewood Park in a game which looks like a hard one to call, with both sides showing glimpses of brilliance amidst disappointing results
Martin Olsson, Hanley, Dann, Lowe
Marcus Olsson, Hoilett, Formica
Bardsley, O'Shea, Turner, Bridge
Larsson, Colback, Gardner, McClean
Blackburn are still without Michel Salgado (rib) and Vincent Grella (hip) due to their respective long-term injuries but Steve Kean may be able to call upon the services of Bradley Orr, who could be in line for a return from his hamstring complaint.
Sunderland are likely to start with a side similar to that which played in their 1-1 FA Cup draw with Everton.
Centre-backs Titus Bramble (calf) and Wes Brown (knee) are still unavailable but Martin O'Neill will be more than happy to continue the pairing of John O'Shea and Michael Turner, who have been in good form recently.
Keiran Richardson could also be passed fit for the tie but a place on the bench beckons as he nears the end of his rehabilitation from his calf muscle strain.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Blackburn have failed to win in the last five meetings between the two sides.
- Steve Kean's men have only managed to keep one clean sheet so far this season.
- Junior Hoilett has made more successful runs than any other player in the league, with an average of 2.8 per match.
- Both sides have only managed to win one game when their opponents take the lead first this season.
- 51 per cent of Sunderland's shots have been from outside of the box this season, with only QPR having a higher percentage in the league.
- Blackburn have seen 54 yellow cards and four reds - the only side with a worse disciplinary record are Chelsea, who have the same amount of reds but 57 yellows.
- Jason Lowe is the player with the most yellow cards with nine, but Lee Cattermole is only just behind with eight.