Preview: A Close Encounter At The Cottage For SAFC?

We'll not be having any celebrating this weekend Mr Dempsey if that's alright with you.

Ey up you, it's time we started to preview the Fulham game, the final away day of the season. Feels quite sad that. From a purely selfish view, like, writing about it and that, I'm quite happy we're nearly at the end of it all, however from a fans perspective, I just want more and more football!

Anyway, here's our Fulham preview. We've got the team news (or at least we think) plus we've got some tunes, some betting tips, a classic game relived plus a whole lot more for you. Come and get involved, you might like it...

Sunderland Team News

A surprise change in goal last week saw Craig Gordon return to the starting lineup ahead of Simon Mignolet. That said, Mignolet is the no.1 at the club whether fans like it or not, and he's probably going to return this weekend.

In front of Mignolet there could be more changes. Matt Kilgallon was withdrawn against Bolton Wanderers after getting bummed all day by Kevin Davies. Time's running out for Wayne Bridge to prove he's worth keeping around, so we might give him another run out at left-back, with Phil Bardsley returning to right back. That would leave John O'Shea to partner Michael Turner in the middle.

In midfield we're looking at a potential change too. O'Neill welcomes back Craig Gardner from suspension, and he could slot in on the right hand side of midfield. Jack Colback, James McClean and Lee Cattermole are almost the first names on the team sheet so expect them to all start, but the right poses intriguing possibilities. Gardner could play of course, we could persist with Fraizer Campbell despite a mediocore outing against Bolton, or start with the man who replaced him, Ahmed Elmohamady. I'm betting on the latter option.

In attack it's going to have to be Nicklas Bendtner and Stephane Sessegnon again. That won't change unless O'Neill knows for sure that Bendtner isn't here next season, or he fails to recover from a minor knock this week.

Fulham Team News

Fulham, like us, aren't really going too much further in the league than their current position, and may choose to chop and change the lineup in preparation for next season. I think that may have been the plan prior to Tuesday anyway, before they beat Liverpool at Anfield 1-0, and now may opt to stick with a winning lineup.

This will see the dependable Mark Schwarzer continue in goal, with a back four of Stephen Kelly, Aaron Hughes, Brede Hangeland and John Arne Riise in front of the Australian. Philippe Senderos sat out the Anfield trip through injury, and is likely to return to the bench for this one.

In midfield, look for Danny Murphy to anchor the side, with Moussa Dembele, Dammian Duff and Clint Dempsey running wild behind the impressive Pavel Pogrebnyak. One change I envisage is Alex Kacaniklic being replaced form the start by Kerim Frei, as he was at Anfield on the hour.

Long term injury victims for the Cottagers include Zdenek Grygera, Bryan Ruiz and Steve Sidwell, all of whom won't get be in action this weekend.

Predicted Lineups

SAFC: Mignolet; Bardsley, Turner, O'Shea, Bridge; Elmohamady, Colback, Cattermole, McClean; Bendtner, Sessegnon.

FFC: Schwarzer; Kelly, Hughes, Hangeland, Riise; Duff, Dembele, Murphy, Frei; Dempsey; Pogrebnyak.

Classic Encounter

This week's classic comes from the 1985-86 season, where in what was then known as the Canon League Division Two, we destroyed Fulham 4-2 at Roker Park. Goals coming from Ian Wallace and Shaun Elliott, while Mark Proctor also grabbed a double in a comfortable game which had us 3-0 up at the break.

Get Rich Quick

Time for a quick look down the runners and riders to see who's going to get our money this week. Actually, the only person who will be getting our money this week will be the bookies as most of these bets are best avoided. That said, if we win, which is unlikely, we'll be lording it up for weeks, so prepare yourself...

  • I'm not predicting anything overly spectacular this week, so a low scoring game seems to be decent enough value at 5/2 for it being under 1.5 goals in total.
  • If you fancy us to score that solitary goal, a 1-0 win for us at Craven Cottage is priced at a nice looking 17/2.
  • And if you're looking for a scorer there, I think Stephane Sessegnon is due a goal, and is priced rather highly at 8/1 over on BetFred. I'd be taking that up for the Beninese striker to score first.

Song For Whoever

In this little section we roll out a tune which seems topical to the situation. It could be a great, tub-thumping number or something more sedated. Who knows. Well we know, because we selected it, and this weeks selection is The Clash's "London Calling"... because simply London is calling, for the final time this season at least.

Prediction

As I said on the podcast, and in other places, I can't see this one being particularly great or exciting for us. This is why I'm looking at a fairly ugly 0-0. Perhaps at best we'll come away with a 1-0 win, but this is very evenly matched game, that could go either way. This is why I'm predicting it will go nowhere but 0-0. Again.

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