The two sides have already met three times this season and the Black Cats have failed to win any of the fixtures, recording two draws and a loss.
These games came within three weeks of each other, with Walsall knocking Sunderland out of the FA Cup in the second round.
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.
MORE: How Sunderland and their promotion rivals could see their hopes change this weekendThree months since that last meeting between the two, how have the Saddlers fared?
There has been a lot of tactical changes over the last few weeks in Walsalls squad but they seem to have finally settled on a 4-3-3.
The system sees wingers Josh Gordon and Zeli Ismail on either side of Morgan Ferrier who leads the line. Ferrier may drop out on Saturday, though, with top scorer Andy Cook set to return from suspension.
READ: Jack Ross on bringing out Will Griggs best and whether Luke ONien could be the solutionThe boyhood Newcastle United fan has proven a big miss for the Saddlers in recent weeks having netted 16 times this season and his return may spell trouble for the Black Cats backline.
Since switching to the formation at the start of march they have had mixed results, winning once and drawing once before losing 3-2 to Portsmouth on Tuesday evening.
The club have also favoured a 4-4-2 with deeper midfielders in 2019 in a setup which resembles a 4-2-2-2.
Match Preview – Sland vs Walsall | 16 Mar 2019
Ismail has been a revelation this year at Bankss Stadium. The winger has played 31 times this season including 25 in the league.
The Black Cats currently sit third in League One, four points behind the top two of Barnsley and Luton Town, having played a game less than their promotion rivals.
And Ross is keen to praise the form of the two teams directly above his Sunderland side – which he believes indicates that the Wearsiders have had only a decent campaign in the third tier.
When youre in a league where the team at the top is in the best run of form in the clubs history, you have to hold your hands up, its unfortunate for us but theres not a lot you can do about it.
Barnsleys [unbeaten] run, I dont where it stands in terms of their history but it must be up there.
Then you throw ours in there, which is December, its not bad, it just happens that there are other teams in the league [doing well].
We talk about tracking points, if you look at other leagues [in the EFL], we would be there or thereabouts as well.
A draw at Barnsley leaves Sunderland somewhat reliant on other results in the final ten games of the campaign – but Ross insists it is dramatic to say that his sides fate is out of their own hands.
With just under a quarter of the campaign still to play, he knows the Black Cats have positioned themselves well for a late promotion push.