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January 11, 2014 3:00 PM GMT
Craven Cottage — London
Referee:‬ M. Dean‎
Attendance:‬ 25564‎
Adam Johnson 29′
Sung-Yong Ki 41′
Adam Johnson 69′
Adam Johnson 85′ (PG)

Fulham - Sunderland Preview: Poyet's men boosted by Manchester United win

The Black Cats have secured back-to-back wins in the FA Cup and the Capital One Cup but remain at the bottom of the Premier League, four points adrift of safety

By Matthew Rogerson

Sunderland can boost their survival hopes by carrying recent cup form into Saturday's Premier League match against fellow strugglers Fulham.

While Gus Poyet's men remain bottom of the table, they have picked up successive wins in knockout competitions since being beaten by Aston Villa in their last league outing.

After successfully avoiding a slip-up against League One outfit Carlisle United in the FA Cup on Sunday, Sunderland seized the initiative in the first leg of a Capital One Cup semi-final against Manchester United two days later, winning 2-1 at the Stadium of Light.

11/4 Fulham are 11/4 with Paddy Power to beat Sunderland without conceding
Although a victory over Fulham would not be enough to lift Sunderland out of the relegation zone, they have the opportunity to significantly reduce the five-point gap to Rene Meulensteen's 16th-placed side and potentially move level on points with Crystal Palace, who are 18th.

Sunderland can also reach the landmark of 7,000 league goals by scoring twice.

Poyet can take encouragement from a run of four matches without defeat on the road and the form of Adam Johnson.

The winger had a hand in all three goals against Carlisle and also posed Manchester United’s defence plenty of problems after coming on as a second-half substitute, earning the penalty that led to Sunderland's second goal.

"Adam's performance [on Tuesday] made my day," Poyet told The Sunderland Echo.

"I think it was the thing I was most pleased about in the whole game because we need him to play like that regularly."

Fulham were thumped 6-0 by Hull City two weeks ago, but the situation at Craven Cottage appears brighter than when Meulensteen succeeded fellow Dutchman Martin Jol as head coach on December 1.

The London club have picked up three of their six league wins since Meulensteen took charge of first team affairs and had more shots on target in the fixtures between December 21 and January 1 than any other Premier League side.

However, a lack of defensive solidity remains a major concern, with Fulham having conceded 42 goals in 20 top-flight matches - comfortably the highest total in the division.

The absence of captain Brede Hangeland has been a contributory factor and he remains out of action with a back problem.

Sunderland skipper John O'Shea is in line for his first Premier League appearance since December 21, after returning from a shoulder injury against United on Tuesday.

Field Report
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Top 3 Predictions
Head to Head
Premier League ‎(EPL)‎ 11 Jan 2014 Fulham 1 - Sunderland 4
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Premier League ‎(EPL)‎ 17 Aug 2013 Sunderland 0 - Fulham 1
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Premier League ‎(EPL)‎ 2 Mar 2013 Sunderland 2 - Fulham 2
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Premier League ‎(EPL)‎ 18 Nov 2012 Fulham 1 - Sunderland 3
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Premier League ‎(EPL)‎ 6 May 2012 Fulham 2 - Sunderland 1
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Last Five Matches
Returns: Fulham £22.50 WilliamHill William Hill: £25 in free bets
Returns: Draw £33.00 Bet365 Sign up with bet365 for a 100% deposit bonus up to £200
Returns: Sunderland £38.00 Bet365 Sign up with bet365 for a 100% deposit bonus up to £200
Team News
Available Squads
13David StockdaleGoalkeeper
3John Arne RiiseDefender
14Philippe SenderosDefender
27Sascha RietherMidfielder
7Steve SidwellMidfielder
16Damien DuffMidfielder
7Adel TaarabtMidfielder
28Scott ParkerMidfielder
9Dimitar BerbatovStriker
2Clint DempseyStriker
-Neil EtheridgeGoalkeeper
18Aaron HughesDefender
8Pajtim KasamiMidfielder
11Alexander KacaniklicMidfielder
15Kieran RichardsonMidfielder
24Ashkan DejagahStriker
39Darren BentStriker
25Vito MannoneGoalkeeper
2Phil BardsleyDefender
5Wes BrownDefender
16John O'SheaDefender
28Marcos Alonso Defender
4Sung-Yong KiMidfielder
11Adam JohnsonMidfielder
14Jack ColbackMidfielder
33Lee CattermoleMidfielder
9Steven FletcherStriker
31Fabio BoriniStriker
-Jordan PickfordGoalkeeper
12Ondřej ČelůstkaDefender
7Sebastian LarssonMidfielder
8Craig GardnerMidfielder
23Emanuele GiaccheriniMidfielder
17Jozy AltidoreStriker
10Dong-Won JiStriker
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Wayne Rooney Wayne Rooney
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15 2
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15 0