Hull City vs Sunderland: Match preview

Jermain Defoe is currently out of form but will see this tie as a perfect opportunity to rekindle his confidence (©GettyImages)

Hull City are currently in the middle of a schedule of must-win games, and after losing at Stoke City on Saturday, the urge for them to return to winning ways has been reinforced ahead of yet another basement battle.

Sunderland suffered the same fate as the Tigers on Saturday, losing 2-0 to Manchester United after Wes Brown was controversially sent-off instead of John O'Shea.

O'Shea available 

The ex-Red Devils centre-back had his red card rescinded on Monday afternoon and is now available for the Tuesday night game. His defensive counterpart received no punishment and also remains in the squad that will travel south to East Yorkshire.

Adam Johnson is another Black Cats' player in the news lately but for his actions off the field. The club suspended the former Manchester City winger after he was arrested on suspicion of performing sexual actions on a 15-year-old girl.

With Billy Jones returning from injury, it is expected that he will deputise for the 27-year-old whilst Jack Rodwell and Ricky Alvarez are also fit again.

Hull's dismal performance against Stoke at the weekend can be justified by the fact that they didn't include any strikers in their starting line-up.

Dame N'Doye had been in Senegal and Russia, tying up personal affairs since his recent move to the Premier League, and only returned on Friday night, consequently leaving him on the bench due to high levels of fatigue. It is thought that the 30-year-old will be back on the pitch for the full 90 minutes for this game, however.

Abel Hernandez also made the bench because of his poor form whilst Nikica Jelavic didn't even make the trip to Staffordshire after picking up a minor injury in training last week, but he could be back in contention for Tuesday night.

Robbie Brady also suffered an injury in the same training session after falling down a "pot-hole" in the grass according to Steve Bruce who consequently blasted his groundsmen. The Irishman ruptured several muscles in his calf and could now miss the rest of the season. 

Eyes on Defoe

All eyes will be on Jermain Defoe for the visitors who has failed to score in his past four games in all competitions. Never the less, a journey to the KC Stadium is happily dancing around the mind of the former Tottenham Hotspur forward as many out-of-form strikers have rekindled their confidence in front of goal in East Yorkshire, for example Charlie Austin.

With that in mind, the 32-year-old should be frothing with anticipation to get on the scoresheet again as hitting the back of the net seems to be a cause for concern for Gus Poyet. Connor Wickham and Steven Fletcher don't seem to have any confidence at all to build upon and you would expect them to be quiet.

The Uruguayan must be sitting uncomfortably at the moment, however, as his side have failed to win since January 31 in the league. Some fans have called for him to be sacked whilst even the most patient and loyal of supporters are becoming impatient. A defeat here for Sunderland could really trigger panic stations behind the scenes at the Stadium of Light. 

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