MATHIEU FLAMINI has backed Vito Mannone to bounce back from his latest goalkeeping howler, but the Sunderland shot-stopper is still set to lose his place for Monday’s trip to Crystal Palace.

Having made a series of errors in the 8-0 humiliation at Southampton, Mannone committed another howler in the closing stages of last weekend’s 2-0 defeat to Arsenal, with his hesitation in the penalty area enabling Alexis Sanchez to roll home the Gunners’ second goal.

While Gus Poyet backed Mannone in the wake of events at St Mary’s, he is unlikely to be as understanding for a second week in succession and Costel Pantilimon is expected to make his first Premier League start for the Black Cats at Selhurst Park.

Pantilimon, who was a summer signing from Manchester City, has started both of Sunderland’s Capital One Cup games this season, but a start on Monday would represent a significant statement in terms of the pecking order in the Wearsiders’ goalkeeping ranks.

Mannone was the Black Cats’ Player of the Year last season, but his last two performances have hinted at a serious loss of confidence, and Poyet is expected to take the Italian out of the firing line as Sunderland attempt to claim their first league away win in five days time.

Flamini was Mannone’s team-mate for a number of years at the Emirates, and the pair exchanged words in the wake of Saturday’s game.

The French midfielder accepts his former colleague is going through a difficult spell, but fully expects him to return even stronger for the experience.

“He is a friend of mine,” said Flamini. “It was a difficult time for him. The confidence in the Sunderland team was not high. I played with him at Arsenal. He is a great keeper and a great guy. I felt for him, but he will bounce back.”

Meanwhile, Poyet has insisted Cabral remains part of his first-team plans despite not having featured in the senior side since August 2013.

The midfielder came close to leaving the Stadium of Light in the summer, only for at least two proposed deals to collapse, and while he remains on the fringe of the first-team picture, Poyet insists he will not be ostracising him out of spite.

Last season, Paolo Di Canio forced both Phil Bardsley and Lee Cattermole to train with Sunderland’s junior players, but Poyet does not see the value of such an antagonistic approach.

“We signed the player for a reason,” said the Sunderland head coach. “Then it doesn’t work under the new manager, but you’re not going to put a gun to his head and say, ‘Leave the football club’. I’m not that type of person.

“He’s a great lad and a great professional. I’m making the decision that he’s not playing – it’s not his fault, it’s me. If he trains properly and is professional, he’s with us because he’s a first-team player.

“Now, if there’s anyone, and I’m talking about anyone, that I think it’s better not to train with us, then he won’t. At the moment, Cabral has been great, but that doesn’t mean he’s going to play.”