Sean Dyche's Burnley travel to the Stadium of Light for the FA Cup third round all Premier League fixture against David Moyes' Black Cats on Saturday (7th January, kick off 15.00).
This is a game that has more subplots running than an Agatha Christie crime tale. Both sides will in all honesty prefer to opt for Premier League survival rather than experience an extended FA Cup run.
Burnley visit the North East on the back of a New Year's Eve 4-1 thumping of their weekend hosts and it will be interesting to see if both managers decide to go for broke with full strength lineups or give the players on the respective squad peripherals a chance to strut their stuff?
Sean Dyche has already indicated that the returning Joey Barton may be provided with a starting berth, whilst David Moyes has the dilemma of deciding on whether to place Jermaine Defoe in the January transfer shop window.
Sunderland's top scorer has lately been the subject of considerable interest from West Ham United manager Slaven Bilic. The Black Cats have so far declined any interest to part company with the only player who looks capable of helping the North East outfit perform their usual annual Harry Houdini relegation escape act.
It is being reported from East London that Sunderland's refusal to come to the negotiating table has inspired Bilic to cast covetous glances to the Clarets' in form striker Andre Gray.
Gray is now approaching his top form following his return to the Burnley first team and scored an inaugural Premier League hat trick against Sunderland last weekend.
Michael Keane is the reported transfer target of Foxes' boss Claudio Ranieri and it may well be that Burnley gaffer Sean Dyche rests the player and gives West Brom and Wolves target James Tarkowski the opportunity to shine in Keane's possible absence.
Burnley visit the Stadium of Light again on March 18th in what will undoubtedly be a vital Premier league relegation encounter.
FA Cup or not, both sides will be looking to lay down a marker on Saturday and it will be more than interesting to see the respective strategies and team selections of the opposing managers. (TEC).