Mensah may play as Hammers look to build on midweek Cup win...Europe Is Still Within Reach
The Black Cats' four-game unbeaten streak ended with a bump against Wolves but Steve Bruce's men will still be happy with their progress this season, the victory at Stamford Bridge a particular highlight.
They sit five points off the European places and a win against West Ham will put pressure on Bolton, who are directly above them in the league.
Preparations for Sunderland have been affected by the snowfall in the North-East, and assistant manager Eric Black has suffered more than most as he has been snowed in all week.
Goals have not been a problem for Sunderland as they have scored seven in the last three games.
Hammers Will Be Looking Towards Spector & Cole
West Ham will be hoping to cap a wonderful week with another three points at the Stadium of Light. With only their second league win of the season against Wigan, and the fabulous 4-0 destruction of Manchester United in midweek, morale will be sky-high at Upton Park.
Avram Grant will no doubt remind his team of the League Cup victory over Sunderland back in September, and with the addition of Wally Downes to the backroom staff, a real upturn in fortunes will spur them on to victory.
The win will not be an easy task, however, as only Manchester United have a better home record than Sunderland this year. The Black Cats have an impressive record of three wins and four draws.
John Mensah may make his return from a shoulder injury as Sunderland aim to return to winnings ways following their defeat by Wolves. The Black Cats have been defeated only twice in the last five games, a sequence which includes their impressive if unlikely victory at Chelsea.
Loanee Danny Welbeck has scored three goals in the last two games and will be hoping to extend that run.
Possible starting XI: Gordon; Onuoha, Ferdinand, Bardsley, Mensah; Zenden, Cattermole, Henderson, Richardson; Bent, Welbeck
West Ham United
Midweek heroes Jonathan Spector and Carlton Cole are likely to start as Avram Grant is unlikely to change a winning team after the Hammers beat Manchester United 4-0 in the Carling Cup.
Mark Noble and Scott Parker are doubtful after suffering from a bout of appendicitis and a chest infection, respectively.
Possible starting XI: Green; Faubert, Tomkins, Upson, Ben-Haim; Boa-Morte, Kovac, Spector, Hines; Cole, Obinna
What's at stake
Sunderland could close the gap to Tottenham to only two points should they win and Spurs lose. However, with Bolton sandwiched between the two their game against Manchester City will not be easy.
West Ham are now level with Wolves at the foot of the Premier League and a win in the North-East could bring them level with Fulham, who currently sit fourth from bottom of the table. And with the Cottagers facing Arsenal the incentive is certainly there.
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