Meet the opposition | Sunderland
As Swansea City get set to host Sunderland, we take a closer look at the Black Cats.
WHAT'S THEIR STORY?
Established in 1879, Sunderland were one of the founding members of the Football League in 1890.
They have been English champions on six occasions and victorious in the FA Cup twice, the most recent of those successes coming in 1973 when they produced one of the great shocks in the competition's history by beating Don Revie's Leeds United 1-0 at Wembley Stadium, whilst plying their trade in the second tier of the English pyramid.
After spending much of the current century occupying a place within the Premier League, recent times have seen Sunderland drop into League One for a four-year stint.
Play-off success under Alex Neil ended that spell in the third tier and saw them return to the Championship last season, where Tony Mowbray continued their upward trajectory, helping them reach the play-offs.
HOW'S THEIR FORM?
Having put together a run of six wins and a draw from eight games, Sunderland suffered a three-match losing run thanks to defeats to Middlesbrough, Stoke and Leicester.
However, they bounced back last weekend with a 3-1 victory over Norwich and they remain firmly in the top half of the table with hopes of once again being among the promotion contenders with a squad packed with young, energetic players.
WHO'S THE GAFFER?
Experienced former Blackburn manager Tony Mowbray has been at the helm since the unexpected departure of Alex Neil to Stoke last year.
Yorkshireman Mowbray has over 20 years of management experience at the likes of Celtic, West Bromwich Albion, Coventry City and Blackburn Rovers, leaving the latter at the end of the 2021-22 season after five years in charge at Ewood Park where he led them back to the second tier.
A tough-tackling defender as a player, Mowbray amassed over 550 career appearances for Middlesborough, Celtic and Ipswich, scoring 36 league goals.
WHO'S THE CAPTAIN?
WHO ARE THE KEY MEN?
Former Leeds United youngster Jack Clarke has started off the season with a bang with eight goals to his name already, and he has continued to be a livewire presence after excelling last term.
He joined the Black Cats for an undisclosed fee from Premier League Tottenham Hotspur in the summer of 2022 after a successful loan spell with the club as they secured promotion from League One.
A key part of that promotion winning team, Clarke is an integral figure in the Black Cats line-up, showing signs of the ability that persuaded then-Tottenham manger Jose Mourinho to sanction a £10 million pound transfer to the White Hart Lane club in 2019.
Goalkeeper Anthony Patterson has been a mainstay in the Sunderland team since returning from a loan spell with Notts County halfway through the 2021-22 campaign.
The academy product has played every Championship fixture since the Black Cats returned to the second tier, and he won his first cap for England Under-21s in the summer.
A terrific shotstopper with sound handling, Patterson is a reliable presence between the sticks and is fast closing in on 100 appearances for Sunderland.
Northern Ireland international Trai Hume has been an ever-present for Sunderland this season, forming a defensive partnership with Dan Ballard.
The 21-year-old, who was born in Ballymena, had spells in the youth ranks with Ballymena United and Linfield and made his senior debut for the latter.
He played in the Champions League and Europa League qualifying rounds before moving to Sunderland in January 2022.
Hume helped the Black Cats achieve promotion from League One later that year, and featured regularly in the Championship last term as Tony Mowbray’s side got to the play-offs.