Sunderland (19th, 25 points)
Fabio Borini returns for the Black Cats after sitting out their game with parent club Liverpool last week.
Steven Fletcher remains sidelined with an ankle injury, while Keiren Westwood is also injured with a shoulder problem.
West Ham United (11th, 34 points)
James Collins picked up a calf injury in the win over Hull last week, which means either Winston Reid or Roger Johnson are expected to cover.
Matt Jarvis is expected to return to the match day squad after a calf injury.
Despite beating Hull last Wednesday, the feeling amongst the Hammers supporters is that things are not as good as they should be at the club.
Sam Allardyce’s reaction to the boos that preceded the 2-1 victory at the Boleyn Ground all but burnt any bridges that may have existed between him and the West Ham faithful, and the feeling is that he’d have to completely change his approach between now and the end of the season to have any chance of repairing the damage made to his relationship with the supporters.
An away trip to Sunderland is always a tough one, but the Black Cats’ are on a run of picking up just one point from their last five games and have the worst home record in the Premier League this season, as well as scoring the least home goals in the division.
There isn’t a lot of confidence that we can grab a much needed result tonight, but the opportunity to all but secure top-flight survival is well and truly there for the taking. A win would extend that gap between us and the drop zone to 11 points, which should be enough for us to keep our top-flight status.
That said, a point would do nicely as we continue to trudge along under Allardyce’s style of football and get results the ugly way.
But, if we lose tonight while playing pretty, attractive football, there cannot be any complaints. Although I can’t see that happening. Can you?
What Twitter is Saying:
— Jake Hodder (@JakeHodder11) March 31, 2014
— Jack Clarkson (@Jack_Clarkson) March 31, 2014
You certainly have the right to boo but does it help motivate the players? Has it ever helped snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. dg
— David Gold (@davidgold) March 30, 2014
Sunderland have won three and lost none of their last five Barclays Premier League games against West Ham.
Kevin Nolan has scored five goals in his last four Premier League games against Sunderland.