Sunderland v A Villa preview
Paul Lambert takes on mentor Martin O'Neill as Aston Villa travel to Sunderland this weekend.
Last Updated: 02/11/12 2:50pm
Sunderland defender Carlos Cuellar faces a race against time to face his former team-mates for the first time since his move from Villa in the summer.
O'Neill is expected to recall Danny Rose, Seb Larsson and Craig Gardner for the game after the trio were rested in midweek against Middlesbrough
Phil Bardsley is pushing to make his first Premier League start of the season after playing the 90 minutes against Middlesbrough.
Central defenders Wes Brown and Titus Bramble remain on the sidelines for the home side.
Aston Villa left-back Joe Bennett will return from a one-match suspension following his sending-off against Norwich for the clash at the Stadium Of Light.
However, midfielder Karim El Ahmadi will have to serve a one-game ban after incurring his fifth booking of the season during the midweek Capital One Cup win at Swindon.
Villa central defender Chris Herd is a fitness doubt after being substituted with a knee injury at the County Ground.Villa make the trip to Wearside hovering just above the drop zone, two points clear of the bottom three.
Both sides go into the game after mixed fortunes in midweek with Villa reaching the last eight of the Capital One Cup with victory at Swindon, while Sunderland were dumped out by Middlesbrough.Sunderland find themselves struggling down in 14th spot in the table having picked up nine points from their opening eight matches.
Both games last season were drawn, while Villa have not beaten Sunderland in their last five games.