Sunderland go into tonight’s FA Cup fourth round replay with Fulham on the back of a convincing 2-0 win over Burnley , where returning Premier League striker Jermain Defoe settled the tie to get off the mark for his new side.
In the first leg it was Fulham who came the closest – Hugo Rodallega’s late effort cannoned off the post, but 10-men Sunderland were able to hold on. Tonight the Black Cats will be without Lee Cattermole who is out of contention with a knee injury.
Meanwhile, Fulham look set to be without Bryan Ruiz – a player that has featured in all of the club’s league victories this season – whose future in South West London still appears to be in the balance. Scott Parker is also a doubt for the Whites, while new signing Jazz Richards, on loan from Swansea, is cup-tied for tonight’s fixture.
Sunderland have made steady progress with Gus Poyet at the helm this season, but having so far failed to steer themselves convincingly clear of the drop zone, a victory tonight could inject his side with further confidence.
Fulham, who have enjoyed moments of quality this season, notably by way of Lasse Vigen Christensen and Ross McCormack, are unlikely to make a late push for the playoffs and Kit Symons may well expect his side to make the most of the home fixture.
KICK-OFF: Tuesday 7.45pm
PAST THREE MEETINGS…
Fulham 0 Sunderland 0 FA Cup, January 2015
Fulham 1 (Sidwell) Sunderland 4 (Johnson 3, Ki Sung-yueng) Premier League, January 2014
Sunderland 0 Fulham 1 (Kasami) Premier League, August 2013
Fulham’s are just behind Norwich City with the most goals scored this season outside of the play-off places while Sunderland have drawn the most games in the Premier League.
Sunderland have lost just one of their last nine FA Cup matches against teams in lower leagues.
Adam Johnson scored his only career hat-trick against Fulham last January in the Premier League.
Fulham and Sunderland first met in the FA Cup in 1935, Sunderland were 3-2 victors on the day.
Fulham to win: 3.1
Sunderland to win: 2.45
TV: Highlights on BBC1 at 10:50pm.
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