Considering that the Black Cats have played in a cup final and quarter-final this year, that shows how important this match is in the battle to avoid the drop.
The Wearsiders are currently 19th in the table, but they have as many as three games in hand on some of their relegation rivals and can climb above Palace with a win at the Stadium of Light.
Victory over Sunderland at Selhurst Park in August was the only success that the Eagles tasted in their opening 10 outings back in the top flight, but the appointment of Tony Pulis turned their season around.
They have since won regularly, particularly against their sides around them in the table, and another good display this weekend could see them move five points clear of the bottom three.
The Welshman's only injury concern is striker Marouane Chamakh, who is ruled out with a hamstring injury, and therefore Glenn Murray is likely to retain his place as Palace's lone forward.
Blackpool loanee Thomas Ince is in line for a recall for the Londoners' first of back-to-back games in the North-East, with either Jason Puncheon or Yannick Bolasie at risk of losing their starting place.
Possible starting lineups
Sunderland: Mannone; Bardsley, Brown, O'Shea, Alonso; Colback, Bridcutt, Ki, Johnson; Borini, Fletcher
Palace: Speroni; Ward, Dann, Delaney, Moxey; Jedinak, Dikgacoi, Ledley; Bolasie, Ince, Murray
Sports Mole says: 2-0