The Black Cats have won just one of their last 19 Premier League away games, and boss Steve Bruce admitted he was struggling to account for their wretched form on the road after last month's 1-0 defeat at West Brom.
Saturday's trip to the DW Stadium offers an opportunity to start turning things around, with the Latics already having lost to both Blackpool and Chelsea in their own stadium this season.
New record signing Asamoah Gyan is expected to make his Sunderland debut in five days time, and fellow Ghanaian Mensah should also be available for the trip to Lancashire.
Having re-joined the Black Cats over the summer, Mensah was involved in the 2-2 draw with Birmingham on the opening weekend of the season.
His performance in that game came at a price, as he sustained a hamstring injury that kept him out of Sunderland's subsequent matches against West Brom and Manchester City.
The problem also forced him to pull out of Ghana's international squad for last weekend's Africa Cup of Nations qualifier with Swaziland, but having resumed light training on Wearside at the end of last week, the defender should return to full training today.
Provided there are no unforeseen problems in the next couple of days, he will be available for selection on Saturday.
Whether the same is true of Michael Turner remains to be seen, but having damaged his ankle ligaments during a challenge with Manchester City defender Joleon Lescott eight days ago, Sunderland's medical staff have been pleased with the speed of the 26-yearold's recovery.
Turner has responded well to treatment, and is expected to return to some form of training this week. The Wigan game may come too soon for him, but he should be available for the home game with Arsenal on September 18.