Team news is in from the Britannia Stadium as Martin O'Neill dropped a shock.
Stephane Sessegnon was left in the unusual position of finding himself left out of the Sunderland lineup. The Benin international, who signed a new contract last summer, was the man sacrificed from the misfiring flair players to accommodate the return of Lee Cattermole.
Phil Bardsley will have to wait a little longer for his return to the side, however. Bardsley suffered an injury in pre-season and is yet to taste any action this season. Craig Gardner retains his position at right back.
Perhaps a surprise that there has been only one change, but shoring up the midfield away from home rarely seems far from the thoughts of any manager.
4-3-3 or 4-5-1? I suppose only time will tell.
Sunderland (4-3-3/4-5-1): Simon Mignolet, Craig Gardner, Danny Rose, Carlos Cuellar, John O'Shea, Lee Cattermole, Jack Colback, Seb Larsson, Adam Johnson, James McClean, Steven Fletcher.
Substitutes: Phil Bardsley, Fraizer Campbell, Matthew Kilgallon, David Vaughan, Louis Saha, Stephane Sessegnon, Kieron Westwood.
There wasn't much talking points in the Stoke team, meanwhile. Tony Pulis named an unchanged team from that which took to the pitch at Old Trafford.
There was the usual ex-Sunderland factor, however. Former skipper Dean Whitehead started, whilst Thomas Sorensen and Kenwyne Jones took their places on the bench.
Stoke City (4-5-1): Asmir Begovic; Geoff Cameron, Ryan Shawcross (c), Robert Huth, Marc Wilson; Jon Walters, Dean Whitehead, Steven Nzonzi, Charlie Adam, Michael Kightly; Peter Crouch
Substitutes: Thomas Sorensen, Kenwyne Jones, Michael Owen, Matthew Upson, Matthew Etherington, Andy Wilkinson, Wilson Palacios
Make sure you check back later for reports and reaction!