Pressure is on the Black Cats to sign off for the two-week break with a win against The Saddlers or risk falling heavily off the pace.
Due to a number of Sunderland’s squad being selected for international duty, the trip to Fleetwood was postponed before a Checkatrade Trophy final with Portsmouth awaits, a week later.
The game will not be shown live on BT Sports or Sky Sports. However, you can follow the action via the Sunderland Echo live match day blog.
George Dobson: Walsall wont fear giants of the Wear
You’ll be able to follow all the latest updates and team news via the SAFC section on the Sunderland Echo website. Dont forget to tune into our live blog.
Sunderland defender Tom Flanagan and Reece James have return to training following their respective injuries.
Chris Maguire remains out while Duncan Watmore is set to miss the rest of the season after sustaining ankle ligament damage in last week’s feisty encounter at Wycombe Wanderers.
30 points are all thats left to play for as the race for promotion cranks up a notch, with the visit of Walsall this Saturday to the Stadium of Light.
Kicking off at 3pm, the Black Cats face a Saddlers side who theyve failed to beat in three attempts so far this season but knowing they cant afford to lose any ground on the top two sides – Luton Town and Barnsley – if they are to secure an immediate return to the Championship.
But Walsall fought back to get the scoreline back to 3-2. And Dobson believes that tells you a lot about the spirit of the side.
Back-to-back draws – against Wycombe Wanderers and the Tykes – have stretched the lads unbeaten run to 18 games in all competitions, but its meant no ground has been made up on the automatic places.
Speaking at Thursdays pre-match press conference, Ross was honest in his answer when questioned about this weekends meeting with Walsall and Sunderlands run-in.
They will try to combat what we do well and then it is just about finding ways of doing what we do well to the best of our abilities or find different ways to win games.
“This season has 12 or 13 teams that still have a realistic chance of being relegated which means there are an awful lot of teams with stuff to play for.
“When you look at the number of teams in this league it is unusual to be in mid-March and have only a couple of exceptions who know they have very little to play for.
“As time goes on that number will decrease but it means the competitive nature of the games will remain high between now and May.
“When you manage this club there is an expectation that you win every week. There is a belief that you win every week. There is a hope that you win every week.
“The consequences, perhaps, become more acute but we know at this stage of the season to achieve what we want, we need to be winning games.
“That starts on Saturday, particularly now we are going into a period where we dont play a league game for a number of weeks after that.