Di Canio says 'beat Villa, stay up'

Competition: Barclays Premier League

Venue: Villa Park

Kick-off: Mon 29th Apr, 8pm

Sunderland manager Paolo Di Canio says the club will stay up if they can beat Aston Villa on Monday night.

A victory for the Black Cats would put them six points ahead of Villa in the table with just three games remaining, meaning Sunderland would be almost certain to finish the season above Paul Lambert's team.

Speaking ahead of the match, Di Canio said:

"If we are going to win, probably we stay up. Definitely. It's not mathematical but I'm sure that with 40 points we can stay up.

"We won already at Newcastle, we won at home [against Everton] and we have to go there to try to win, and maintain this team in the Premier League next year."

– Paolo Di Canio, Sunderland AFC Manager
Midfielder Craig Gardner returns for Sunderland after a two-match suspension Credit: Daniel Hambury/PA Archive/Press Association Images

TEAM NEWS

Craig Gardner returns from suspension. The midfielder has missed Sunderland's last two matches after collecting ten yellow cards.

Phil Bardsley has been out with an ankle injury but could feature for the Black Cats after Di Canio rated the defender as "okay" for the trip to Villa Park.

RECENT HEAD-TO-HEAD RESULTS

  • Sunderland 0-1 Aston Villa - 3rd Nov 2012
  • Aston Villa 0-0 Sunderland - 21st Apr 2012
  • Sunderland 2-2 Aston Villa - 29th Oct 2011
  • Aston Villa 0-1 Sunderland - 5th Jan 2011
  • Sunderland 1-0 Aston Villa - 23rd Oct 2010