Sam Allardyce has billed West Ham’s next fixture as "critical" as bottom side Sunderland travel to Upton Park, with the Hammers hovering only one place above the relegation zone in 17th. West Ham are in desperate need of a win after suffering back to back defeats away at Liverpool and Crystal Palace in the Premier League.
Allardyce has said that he believes he has the full backing of the board despite only managing three wins in the Premier League so far this season.
For Sunderland manager, Gus Poyet, the honeymoon period is over and he will be hoping to get back to winning ways after losing to Spurs at home last weekend. The Black Cats have only picked up two points on their travels this season and the Uruguayan manager will surely be eager to seal Sunderland’s first away victory this season at Upton Park.
West Ham will have to do without their captain, Kevin Nolan, after he received a three match ban for his sending off against Liverpool, however, Ravel Morrison makes a timely return from suspension and will be available for selection. Sunderland will be hoping Carlos Cuellar (hip) is available for the trip to London, but goalkeeper Keiren Westwood (shoulder) remains doubtful.
KICK-OFF: Saturday, 3pm
PAST THREE MEETINGS
Sunderland 3 (Larsson, Johnson, McClean) West Ham 0, Premier League, Jan 2013
West Ham 1(Nolan) Sunderland 1(Fletcher), Premier League, September, 2012
West Ham 0 Sunderland 3 (Zenden, Sessegnon, Riveros), Premier League, May 2011
Total goals scored: 13
Total conceded: 17
Top Scorer: Ravel Morrison on 3 league goals
30 goals conceded (worst defence in the Premier League)
Top Scorer: Bardsley, Giaccherini, Fletcher, Gardner on 2 goals each.
West Ham win: 1.95
Sunderland win: 3.9
TV: Highlights on BBC1 MOTD at 10.25pm