It’s the last away day of the season on Sunday with Saints making the long journey north to the Stadium of Light for a 3pm kick-off.
Mauricio Pochettino’s side play the first of their two remaining matches of the campaign against the side currently placed immediately below them in the table heading into this weekend.
Both teams will see this as an opportunity to secure their top-flight status for another season. A win for Southampton would see Pochettino’s side mathematically clear of trouble ahead of the final day, whilst a home victory would all-but seal the same scenario for Paolo Di Canio’s men, whose superior goal difference should set them aside of danger.
The FA Cup Final takes place on Saturday evening, and therefore dictates that most of the Premier League games scheduled for this weekend will be played on Sunday.
Other notable fixtures which kick-off at the same time as this one, are Newcastle’s trip to QPR as well as Norwich’s hosting of West Bromwich Albion. Wigan travel to Arsenal on Tuesday night and anything but a win for the Latics will almost certainly see Saints safe regardless of the result at the Stadium of Light.
This is Saints’ first trip to Wearside since November 2006 when a late Gareth Bale goal (sound familiar?) earned the visitors a point. Sunderland would go on to win at St Mary’s in the reverse fixture that season to help them towards the Championship title.
After the late heartbreak at White Hart Lane last weekend, Saints have one last chance to add to their tally of three wins on the road this season. After conceding their first goal away from home in four matches, Pochettino’s men will now hope to end a run of three consecutive games without scoring, the longest of the campaign so far.
Sunderland manager Paolo Di Canio was already without top scorer Steven Fletcher for the rest of the campaign, but has since lost two further players in Stephane Sessegnon and Craig Gardner who are both suspended following red cards in each of the last two games. Although a hard earned draw with ten men against Stoke on Monday night will have been a boost for the Black Cats.
Kelvin Davis returns to the home of his former club for the second time since departing for Southampton in 2006.
Saints remain without Danny Fox and Gaston Ramirez, who are both suspended, whilst Pochettino will also be hopeful that Guly can recover from the knock that forced the Brazilian off in the Spurs game.
Maya Yoshida was an unused substitute at Tottenham, missing his first match since making his debut against Arsenal in September. He, and dead leg victim Morgan Schneiderlin, should also come back into contention.
Prior to this season, our last Premier League meetings with the Sunderland came in the 2002-03 season with Saints recording a league double over the Black Cats.
Jo Tessem’s last minute winner secured a 2-1 success at St Mary’s, before James Beattie’s solitary strike was enough to earn a 1-0 victory at the Stadium of Light a month later.
Earlier this season however, Steven Fletcher’s first half goal settled a narrow contest at St Mary’s as Martin O’Neill’s side claimed all three points in the final game before Christmas.
Generally Saints hold a good recent record in top flight matches against the Wearsiders, though we also met in the Championship, during Sunderland’s one season stay at that level in 2006-07.
The aforementioned 1-1 draw at the Stadium of Light was followed by a 2-1 defeat at St Mary’s, though Saints would still make the play-offs
Sunday's game is the 57th all-time meeting between the two teams. Saints have recorded 21 league victories to Sunderland’s 16. Overall, the advantage is 23 wins to the Black Cats’ 21. A further 12 games have ended all square.
Mike Dean will referee Sunday’s game, and he will be assisted by Mr J Collin and Mr J Brooks. Martin Atkinson is the fourth official.
You can listen to live commentary courtesy of BBC Solent on Saints Player, where you can keep up to date with all the stats and scores from around the country.
Mauricio Pochettino will speak to Saints Player ahead of the game, and you can hear his pre-match thoughts – as well as watching the gaffer's full press conference – before Sunday.
Fans travelling to Wearside are asked to contribute to our next official matchday programme by sending in their pictures via Twitter and Instagram – just add the hashtag #MarchingIn.
You can also email your photos from throughout your trip north to firstname.lastname@example.org