Writer: Gary Johnson
Date:Sunday October 17 2010
Sunderland head into this game after starting their season with some brilliant results but still find themselves two points from the relegation zone!
Sunderland need an away win and they will feel confident heading to Ewood park with a near full strength squad.
Darren Bent will be touch and go but he can be replaced by Gyan if need be. Maybe Bruce will go for 4-4-2 if boh strikers are fit enough, but Bruce has plenty of options.
Blackburn will be dangerous from set pieces so we will need to be good from corners and free kicks to keep a clean sheet.
Bruce said: 'We know what to expect. You all know I am a big friend of Sam and enjoy his company, and whenever you are up against his teams, you know physically if you don't stand up and be counted against them, you will be caught short.
'He has done fantastically well to finish 10th again with Blackburn on really limited resources and selling all the players he has.
'You look at his record at Bolton and he was very, very successful.
'Yes, he is much-maligned for the way he plays, but it is difficult, you know it is difficult to play against them, and that's another challenge.'
Big Sam, will be hoping David Dunn is fit enough to return from injury after missing the last two games.
He will also be missing Keith Andrews and Nelsen.
Everytime I have seen Blackburn play, especially against us, he is always the rock for this team.
He is vital to stopping Bent and Gyan and if we can manage to get past him we have a chance of scoring on Monday night.
Sunderland will have Kieron Richardson, John Mensah and Anton Ferdinand all back from injury.
The big decision for Bruce will be whether or not to start Bent as he recovers from a groin injury.
Finally, Henderson is getting the recognition from the national press for his amazing season so far. Man City and Chelsea have both been linked to the young midfielder and he is certain to be picked by England when they place France next month.
Darren Bent has scored 83% of Sunderland's league goals this term; a higher percentage than any other player for their team. The only other goals scored in the league this season by the Black Cats have come from Asamoah Gyan and a Stephen Carr own goal.
The 14 Premier League games between Blackburn and Sunderland have produced a total of only 22 goals.
Referee: Lee Probert Assistant referees: Dean Mohareb & Ceri Richards Fourth official: Chris Foy
Blackburn 1 - 1 Sunderland Sunderland have one of their strongest teams heading into this game but I still feel we will struggle against this physical side. If Bent starts, and is fit, we have a great chance to get a vital away victory but I would be happy to extend our unbeaten run and grab another point.
Sunderland face Aston Villa on Saturday 23rd October at 3pm.
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Date:Sunday October 17 2010
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