Ahead of their trip to Anfield next weekend, the Champions League semi-finalists know that they cannot afford to slip up against the bottom-of-the-table Black Cats.
With Stamford Bridge and Old Trafford their next away destinations, it would take some turnaround for the Black Cats to avoid the drop, with leading bookmaker SkyBet pricing them at 1/12 certainties.
Connor Wickham could yet be their saviour, though. The 21-year-old striker, who had been loaned out to Sheffield Wednesday and Leeds United earlier in the season, scored both in the 2-2 draw at Eastlands.
Ki Sung-Yueng, Steven Fletcher and Kieren Westwood remain sidelined so Jack Colback, who along with Bardsley has been tipped to leave the Stadium of Light in the summer, should start again in midfield.
Mourinho is unlikely to risk Eden Hazard, who has missed Chelsea's last three outings, with Atletico Madrid and Liverpool on the horizon, so Mohamed Salah could continue in an attacking midfield role.
The Egyptian is ineligible for Champions League duty on Wednesday, as is Nemanja Matic, and so both are certain to start this weekend as Mourinho saves some players for the Vicente Calderon Stadium.
It is unclear, though, whether Ba will be given the chance to build on his two match-winning goals, or be rested for the trip to Spain, with Samuel Eto'o, who has been preferred in home games this term, recalled.
Due to Branislav Ivanovic's continental suspension, Ashley Cole will be required against Atletico and Mourinho may see the visit of Sunderland as an opportunity to give the out-of-favour left-back a run-out.
Chelsea have kept clean sheets in their last six Premier League matches on their own soil.
Possible starting lineups
Chelsea: Cech; Ivanovic, Terry, Cahill, Cole; Matic, Ramires; Schurrle, Oscar, Salah; Eto'o
Sunderland: Mannone; Cuellar, Brown, O'Shea, Alonso; Cattermole, Colback, Larsson; Johnson, Borini, Wickham
Sports Mole says: 3-0