STEVEN Fletcher got the nod up front alongside Jermain Defoe for Sunderland’s crunch battle against Aston Villa.
Fletcher was one of three changes to the Sunderland starting XI, with Ricky Alvarez and Patrick van Aanholt also included - Danny Graham, Santiago Vergini and Danny Graham the players to miss out.
Striker Christian Benteke was passed fit for Villa, while Brad Guzan returned in goal at the expense of ex-Sunderland loanee Shay Given.
SUNDERLAND: Pantilimon, Reveillere, van Aanholt, Brown, O’Shea, Bridcutt, Larsson, Rodwell, Alvarez, Defoe, Fletcher. Subs: Jones, Wickham, Gomez, Graham, Coates, Vergini, Mannone
ASTON VILLA: Guzan, Lowton, Okore, Clark, Bacuna, Delph, Cleverley, Sinclair, N’Zogbia, Benteke, Agbonlahor. Subs: Given, Gil, Sanchez, Kinsella, Weimann, Westwood, Hepburn-Murphy.