Sunderland - Fulham Preview: Black Cats hoping to end three-game winless run at home
Martin O'Neill's side have been in woeful form of late but face a visiting side who have failed to win in nine of their last 10 games away from Craven Cottage
By Matt Davis
Gardener, O'Shea, Cuellar, Colback
Sessegnon, Larsson, N'Diaye, Johnson
Reither, Senderos, Hangeland, Riise
Dejagah, Kacaniklic Sidwell, Duff
Martin O'Neill is unlikely to make drastic changes to his team, despite the Mackems suffering defeat against West Brom last time out.
Danny Rose (hamstring), Lee Cattermole (knee) and Wes Brown (knee) all remain sidelined, with their returns expected to be a couple of weeks away.
And so the Black Cats' line-up should have a familiar feel, with Danny Graham and Steven Fletcher tasked with grabbing the goals up top.
Fulham, meanwhile, should name an unchanged back four having kept a clean sheet up against the aerial threat of Stoke in their last game.
Kieran Richardson is expected to be in the squad which travels to the Stadium of Light, the home of his former club, but it is unlikely he will start the game.
Simon Davies will also return from injury in time, but long-term absentees Kerim Frei (knee) and Mahamadou Diarra (groin) remain unavailable.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Sunderland have won only one of their last six meetings with Fulham.
- A win for the home side would see them go level on points with the Cottagers in the Premier League.
- Sunderland have lost their last three top-flight games, the first time they have done so this season.
- Fulham have failed to win nine of their last 10 away games.
- The last time Martin Jol's side won back-to-back Premier League games was in September.
- Sunderland have failed to win any of their last three games at the Stadium of Light in all competitions.
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Top 3 Predictions
Sunderland 2-1 Fulham
- 13.97 %
Sunderland 1-2 Fulham
- 13.97 %
Sunderland 1-1 Fulham
- 11.77 %
|Premier League (EPL)||11 Jan 2014||Fulham 1 - Sunderland 4|
|Premier League (EPL)||17 Aug 2013||Sunderland 0 - Fulham 1|
|Premier League (EPL)||2 Mar 2013||Sunderland 2 - Fulham 2|
|Premier League (EPL)||18 Nov 2012||Fulham 1 - Sunderland 3|
|Premier League (EPL)||6 May 2012||Fulham 2 - Sunderland 1|
|16 Apr 2014||Manchester City 2 - Sunderland 2||EPL|
|12 Apr 2014||Sunderland 0 - Everton 1||EPL|
|7 Apr 2014||Tottenham 5 - Sunderland 1||EPL|
|31 Mar 2014||Sunderland 1 - West Ham 2||EPL|
|26 Mar 2014||Liverpool 2 - Sunderland 1||EPL|
|24||Carlos Javier Cuéllar||Defender|
|3||John Arne Riise||Defender|
The striker has been responsible for 34.5% of Sunderland's points this season and provided a goal and an assist the last time these two teams met. Fletcher has never gone longer than five games without scoring for Sunderland and, considering he has failed to find the net in his previous four outings, should be the Fulham defence's main concern.
The 27-year-old will hope to keep up his current run of form following an impressive performance against West Brom last weekend. The midfielder has scored one goal and provided five assists in eight appearances away from Craven Cottage and his contributions will be vital again here.
Sunderland's previous home form suggests that this could be a difficult afternoon for O'Neill's side, but with Fulham regularly failing to pick up the points on the road, it could be time for the Graham and Fletcher to help push the Black Cats away from the relegation zone.
Times In BST
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed