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Preview: Hull City vs. Sunderland

Sports Mole previews the Premier League match between Hull and Sunderland at the KC Stadium, with the two relegation rivals separated by just one point in the table.

Hull City and Sunderland begin a potentially pivotal fortnight in their fight for Premier League survival by clashing at the KC Stadium on Tuesday evening.

Both teams remain within four points of the drop zone and face another relegation rival next weekend as Sunderland host Aston Villa and Hull visit Leicester City.

Black Cats manager Gus Poyet, whose side are one place and one point below the Tigers in the table, has admitted that the two games are likely to define their season.

The Uruguayan will hope to have Wes Brown available after lodging an appeal against the mysterious red card that he received in Saturday's 2-0 loss to Manchester United.

The veteran defender was sent off in what appeared to be a case of mistaken identity, with fellow United alumnus John O'Shea having pulled Radamel Falcao to the ground to concede the penalty which prompted the defeat at Old Trafford.

Although referee Roger East has claimed through match officials' body PGMOL that it was Brown whom he intended to dismiss, the controversial decision is likely to be overturned to allow the 35-year-old to feature on Humberside.

Hull also left an away match empty handed at the weekend as their three-game unbeaten run came to an end courtesy of a 1-0 reverse at Stoke City, who had Peter Crouch come on as a substitute to head in the winner.

There was a sense that manager Steve Bruce may have been holding back ahead of tomorrow night's match as he left January signing Dame N'Doye, who had bagged two goals in two games, on the bench at the Britannia Stadium.

The Senegalese striker is almost certain to be back in the starting XI against Sunderland, and could be partnered by Nikica Jelavic if the Croatian, Hull's top scorer this season, overcomes the niggle which sidelined him on Saturday.

Gaston Ramirez and Sone Aluko are expected to drop out, while Maynor Figueroa, who was preferred to Andrew Robertson at wing-back against a physical Stoke side, may find the Scot favoured on this occasion.

Those two are only competing for a spot on the left due to an injury to Robbie Brady. The Republic of Ireland international has joined James Chester, Robert Snodgrass, Liam Rosenior and Mohamed Diame in the treatment room.

Sunderland have Santiago Vergini on standby to cover for Brown should his red card not be rescinded, but Poyet may be preparing to name an unchanged side despite a fifth game without victory in all competitions.

Injuries to Emanuele Giaccherini, Ricky Alvarez and Will Buckley limit his options to freshen things up in attack, where Jermain Defoe, courted by Hull in the last transfer window, and company are goalless in four games.

Adam Johnson has scored just once since giving the Wearsiders a first-minute lead in December's reverse fixture, when Bruce's side recovered to claim a 3-1 victory at their manager's former Stadium of Light home.


Form in Premier League: LLDWWL
Form in all competitions: LLDWWL

Possible starting lineup: McGregor; McShane, Bruce, Dawson; Elmohamady, Livermore, Huddlestone, Meyler, Robertson; Jelavic, N'Doye


Form in Premier League: LWDLDL
Form in all competitions: WDLLDL

Possible starting lineup: Pantilimon; Reveillere, Brown, O'Shea, Van Aanholt; Cattermole; Johnson, Larsson, Gomez, Wickham; Defoe

Sports Mole says: 2-1


Who will win Tuesday's crucial Premier League match between Hull and Sunderland at the KC Stadium?

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Dame N'Doye of Hull City (28) as he scores their second goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Hull City and Queens Park Rangers at KC Stadium on February 21, 2015
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