The Eagles travel to the Stadium of Light for tomorrow’s FA Cup third round clash for the first time since last season’s dramatic play-off victory.
Even if we were stranded at the bottom of the Premiership this season, the memories of Darren Powell’s last-minute goal and Michael Hughes’s winning penalty would be enough to warm the heart of any Palace fan.
As it is, Palace go into the game with renewed hope for the rest of the season after last Saturday’s excellent win over Villa.
Few of the players that featured in that game are likely to appear on Wearside, though. After a gruelling Christmas period, Iain Dowie is certain to take the opportunity to rest some of his key players.
Gabor Kiraly will sit out, with Julian Speroni getting a rare start and the chance to put his jitters to rest. Up front, AJ will likely be given the day off - with his position going to either Dougie Freedman or Sandor Torghelle.
And changes will be rung in midfield too. Aki Riihilahti has picked up a knock and will not be risked, and Joonas Kolkka is still out. Soares will likely start in Aki’s place, while Vassilis Lakis will look to continue his top form on the left.
Sunderland are in all kinds of trouble injury-wise, with Mart Poom, Gary Breen, Julio Arca, Liam Lawrence and Kevin Kyle all out. Poom’s absence means last seasos’s loan-hero Thomas Myhre will line up against Palace.
The Black Cats are also missing Jeff Whitley (remember that not-so-clever chipped penalty?!) and John Oster.
Probable Palace XI:
Boyce Powell Popovic Borrowdale
Freedman Soares Watson Leigertwood Lakis