Gus Poyet, the Sunderland manager, criticised Stoke over their courtship of Lee Cattermole and Steven Fletcher on the eve of the Premier League game between the two clubs.
The sides meet at the Stadium of Light on Wednesday with Poyet baring his teeth at his opposite number, Mark Hughes. Poyet said: "I am pleased that, in the local newspaper, we didn't throw any rumours about us being interested in any Stoke player, because that's what they have done for the last week.
"No one from Stoke, directors or anyone from them, has made any formal approach or any offer, so for them to be linked with two very important players for us before the game is a little bit disappointing," he added,
Hughes has been reported to be interested in Cattermole for several weeks, but he admitted over the weekend that Sunderland's progress to the Capital One Cup final made signing them unlikely.
Poyet said: "He [Hughes] didn't call me. Some people would say the manager normally would call to say when they want a player of the other team. But he didn't call me, of that I can assure you."
Stoke have become the latest Premier League club to hold talks with the Blackpool winger Tom Ince with a view to signing him on loan until the end of the season. Ince has also been linked with Swansea City and Crystal Palace.
The West Bromwich Albion head coach, Pepe Mel, has been studying Aston Villa closely ahead of the derby at Villa Park. "It is a big game for us" said Mel, whose side are on the fringes of the relegation zone. "We need to win."