Sunderland vs Fulham: FA Cup match preview

A look ahead to this weekend’s FA Cup tie at the Stadium of Light

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The Independent Football

Sunderland boss Gus Poyet has his sights set on another morale-boosting cup win as his Black Cats welcome a wildly inconsistent Fulham to Wearside on Saturday.

Poyet will hope a run in the FA Cup – similar to the one that saw his side reach the Capital One Cup final last season – can provide a lift in the dressing room as his team battle against relegation in the Premier League. The Uruguayan manager described Sunderland as “a different club” after the arrival of Jermaine Defoe last week and the English striker is in line to make his home debut after a first appearance for the club in last weekend’s 2-1 loss at Tottenham.

Meanwhile, their Championship visitors come into this tie with a renewed sense of confidence having recorded a 3-2 win over Nottingham Forest on Wednesday – their second straight victory. Ross McCormack’s first half hat-trick set the Cottagers on their way to three points and the Scottish striker will be one for Sunderland to keep an eye on.

Kit Symon’s side had to work hard to earn their place in this tie, having battled to a thrilling penalty shootout triumph in their third round replay at Wolves. Fulham showed excellent strength of character to come from behind twice, including a McCormack spot kick in the last minute of extra time. That goal set up a shootout, which Fulham won 5-3. Before that spirited display, however, the Craven Cottage outfit had not scored in four matches.

KICK-OFF: Saturday, 3pm

PAST THREE MEETINGS…

Fulham 1 (Sidwell) Sunderland (Johnson 3, Sung-yueng) 4, Premier League, January 2014

Sunderland 0 Fulham 1 (Kasami), Premier League, August 2013

Sunderland 2 (Gardner, Sessegnon) Fulham 2 (Berbatov, Riether), Premier League, March 2013

STATS…

Sunderland’s victory over Leeds in the third round was their only win in six matches

Fulham have kept just one clean sheet in their last eleven away games

The Black Cats have been in the draw for the fifth round just twice in the last decade

Cottagers striker Ross McCormack has scored four goals in his last three matches in all competitions

ODDS…

Sunderland to win: 1.67

Fulham to win: 5.75

Draw: 4

TV: Highlights on BBC1 at 10.25pm.

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