Niall Quinn hopes the former Barcelona reserve captain Arnau Riera can inspire Sunderland to a first win of the season against Plymouth Argyle at home today.
Quinn thinks Riera, a 24-year-old central midfielder, can develop into the heartbeat of the Sunderland side.
"Arnau is definitely in contention," Quinn said. "He's raring to go and I think people will like him. He's a spirited lad. What I like about him is that he loves a tackle and some of the loudest cheers here are when people tackle. I like that too - it lifts everyone.
"He's not someone I would have brought here to stand outside of the mixer. He wants to get in there and get himself dirty. He does the tougher side as well as the pretty side."
Quinn still hopes to bring the striker Kevin Phillips back to Wearside, with Aston Villa expected to make a decision by Monday.
Plymouth's manager, Ian Holloway, said: "I believe my team are better than they think they are and I told them that."
Luton's manager, Mike Newell, takes the Hatters to Norwich confident they can improve their away form, having lost 13 of their 23 away games last season. Luton have already won at Sheffield Wednesday and Newell said: "We have the confidence and belief we can go to places and get results."
Newell has Chris Coyne available while Norwich have the midfielder Andy Hughes back in contention.
Burnley are away at Sheffield Wednesday, who are looking for the win their manager, Paul Sturrock, believes they deserve. "Whenever I've asked the fan base to back us they've come up with the goods and I'm asking for more again," he said.
Steve Bruce takes his Birmingham side to Stoke without the suspended Cameron Jerome and D J Campbell, who is injured. Leicester and Ipswich meet at the Walkers Stadium with both sides chasing a first point and Hull try to break their duck at home to Derby.
Crystal Palace play Leeds United at Selhurst Park. Palace are hoping the defender Danny Butterfield will be fit and Leeds have a doubt over Eirik Bakke.Reuse content