The Clarets have only lost as many games as Liverpool and Manchester United, but their lack of firepower has left them in the relegation zone after four matches.
They have drawn 0-0 on their last two outings and Sean Dyche has seen the strike force that took the Championship by storm last term ripped apart by injury, with Danny Ings having joined Sam Vokes on the sidelines.
Scott Arfield is the only Burnley player to have found the net so far, but he missed an 85th-minute penalty against Crystal Palace last weekend as Dyche watched a first victory as a top-flight manager slip through his fingers.
Sunderland would have taken Burnley's place in the second tier last season had it not been for a strong finish in which they won four out of five games to complete an unlikely escape from the drop.
They are finding three-point hauls harder to come by this season, having drawn three times so far, although they were perhaps fortunate to escape with a point from their clash with Tottenham Hotspur last weekend.
With a visit to Turf Moor and games against Swansea City and Stoke City at the Stadium of Light coming up, Gus Poyet will be hoping that the Black Cats can put together another run which sees them climb the table.
The Uruguayan may name the same side that drew 2-2 with Spurs thanks to Harry Kane's late own goal, with deadline-day arrival from Inter Milan Ricky Alvarez poised to keep his place on the right wing.
Steven Fletcher was not included in the 18 last time out, but should be named on the bench against the club for whom he scored eight Premier League goals in 2009-10, in a move that will come at the envy of Dyche.
The Clarets boss may recall Matt Taylor on the left flank and shift George Boyd inside to compensate for the injury to Ings, ensuring that Marvin Sordell and Ashley Barnes give him striking options as substitutes.
The hosts have won just one of their last 16 league meetings with Sunderland - a 3-1 victory in 2009.
Possible starting lineups
Burnley: Heaton; Trippier, Duff, Shackell, Mee; Arfield, Jones, Marney, Taylor; Boyd, Jutkiewicz
Sunderland: Mannone; Vergini, Brown, O'Shea, Van Aanholt; Cattermole, Rodwell, Larsson; Johnson, Alvarez, Wickham
Sports Mole says: 0-1