With the patience of the Sunderland support having worn thin with Gus Poyet weeks ago, despite his best efforts to get them back on side, owner Ellis Short finally pulled the trigger following the humiliating 4-0 defeat to Aston Villa last weekend and installed former Netherlands boss Dick Advocaat on a contract until the end of the season.
With West Ham manager Sam Allardyce reportedly lined up to take the job in the summer, it adds a whole new level of spice to a fixture that Sunderland could really do with gaining something from, having won just a single league game since the Tyne-Wear derby in December.
Adam Johnson, who won a contentious penalty when these sides met in the reverse fixture before Christmas, could feature having returned to training following the club’s decision to lift his suspension.
KICK-OFF: Saturday, 5.30pm
PAST THREE MEETINGS...
Sunderland (Gomez) 1-1 West Ham (Downing), Premier League, December 2014
Sunderland (Johnson) 1-2 West Ham (Carroll, Diame), Premier League, March 2014
West Ham 0-0 Sunderland, Premier League, December 2013
ODDS: West Ham 11/13 Draw 27/10 Sunderland 4/1
West Ham have beaten Sunderland just once in their last seven Premier League meetings.
Sunderland have scored 23 league goals this season - only Aston Villa (19) have scored fewer.
Sunderland 2-1 West Ham - 2008
Andy Reid drilled home a 90th minute winner to earn Sunderland back-to-back Premier League victories for the first time since December 2001 and pull them clear of the relegation zone. Freddie Ljungberg had given the visitors the lead, but Kenwyne Jones soon fired home his first goal of 2008 before his Irish colleague set the Black Cats’ support into raptures.
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