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Premier League

  • 14 December 2013
  • • 15:00
  • • Boleyn Ground, London
  • Referee: A. Marriner
  • • Attendance: 31843
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FT
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Ladbrokes PaddyPower WilliamHill MyBet Tipico
West Ham 2.00 2.00 1.91 1.95 1.95
Draw 3.40 3.30 3.50 3.45 3.40
Sunderland 3.75 4.00 4.00 4.00 4.10

West Ham - Sunderland Preview: Allardyce claims Black Cats encounter is a 'must win' game

Kevin Nolan begins his three-match ban and Stewart Downing is sidelined with a leg injury but Ravel Morrison returns from suspension to face Gus Poyet's side

Sam Allardyce has billed West Ham's home clash with fellow Premier League strugglers Sunderland on Saturday as "critical."

The London club were consigned to a 4-1 hammering at Liverpool last weekend and have now lost four of their last five top-flight matches.

That dismal run has left them languishing perilously above the relegation zone, level with Fulham and Crystal Palace - who are 18th and 19th respectively - and five points clear of Saturday's opponents.

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9/2 West Ham and Sunderland are 9/2 with bet365 to be drawing at HT and FT
But despite Sunderland picking up just two points on their travels in the Premier League this season, Allardyce is not playing down the importance of his side's encounter with Gus Poyet's team.

He said: "It's a critical game for both teams. Both teams need to win and, listening to Gus' quotes, that's their objective [too].

"Every team in the Premier League can be difficult to break down and most games are decided by a bit of luck or mistakes that you make.

"We need all the lads that are available to step up to the plate and try and repeat the Fulham performance and get the same result."

Allardyce will have to do without skipper Kevin Nolan, who starts a three-match ban following his red card at Anfield, but fellow midfielder Ravel Morrison returns from suspension.

Defender James Tomkins (hamstring) will undergo a fitness test ahead of the match but Allardyce expects James Collins and Guy Demel to be available despite being unwell this week.

Stewart Downing (leg wound), Winston Reid (ankle), Andy Carroll (foot), Mladen Petric (calf), and Ricardo Vaz Te (shoulder) are definitely out.

Sunderland are rooted to the foot of the table with only eight points from 15 games and Tottenham condemned them to a third defeat in four last weekend.

Poyet, who was appointed as Paolo Di Canio's replacement on October 8, is eager to secure Sunderland’s first away win of the season at Upton Park.

"We know what we are coming up against and how difficult it will be," he told the club's official website.

"We need to stand up and do the right things all the time, be very strong as a group as well as being brave on the ball and making things difficult for them.

"Then, you always have a chance to win. We need to start winning games and we’ve got another opportunity on Saturday."

Poyet will be hoping Carlos Cuellar (hip) is available for the trip to London, while goalkeeper Keiren Westwood (shoulder) remains doubtful.

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Last Five Matches
Odds
Returns: West Ham £20.00 PaddyPower Sign up to Paddy Power for £250 in free bets
Returns: Draw £35.00 WilliamHill William Hill: £25 in free bets
Returns: Sunderland £40.00 PaddyPower Sign up to Paddy Power for £250 in free bets
Team News
Available Squads
22Jussi JaaskelainenGoalkeeper
3George McCartneyDefender
5James TomkinsDefender
19James CollinsDefender
20Guy DemelDefender
7Matthew JarvisMidfielder
49Ravel MorrisonMidfielder
16Mark NobleMidfielder
21Mohamed DiameMidfielder
10Joe ColeMidfielder
10Modibo MaigaStriker
-Adrián San Miguel Del CastilloGoalkeeper
26R. RaţDefender
17Joey O'BrienDefender
-Jack CollisonMidfielder
7Matthew TaylorMidfielder
23Alou DiarraMidfielder
9Carlton ColeStriker
25Vito MannoneGoalkeeper
2Phil BardsleyDefender
5Wes BrownDefender
12Ondřej ČelůstkaDefender
16John O'SheaDefender
4Sung-Yong KiMidfielder
7Sebastian LarssonMidfielder
23Emanuele GiaccheriniMidfielder
33Lee CattermoleMidfielder
17Jozy AltidoreStriker
31Fabio BoriniStriker
-Jordan PickfordGoalkeeper
3Andrea DossenaDefender
29Valentin RobergeDefender
-CabralMidfielder
8Craig GardnerMidfielder
11Adam JohnsonMidfielder
9Steven FletcherStriker

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