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Sunderland vs. West Ham Preview: Cats Looking To Deal Hammer Blow

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In-form West Ham travel to the Wearside looking for a fourth straight win, but it's a game Sunderland should fancy.

Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Sunderland team news

Emanuele Giaccherini and Billy Jones are still considered to be a week or so away from a return, so with the addition of the again-eligible Sebastian Coates the squad is the same as it was for the Liverpool game.

Again, the greater discussions appear to revolve around who should play rather than who could play, which is pretty healthy.

West Ham team news

Mark Noble will miss the trip north having been sidelined with an Achilles injury. However, the Hammers are generally in fine shape, injury wise, after their best start to a season in their entire Premier League history.

Predicted line-up

Sunderland - Football tactics and formations

Key match-up: Lee Cattermole v Kevin Nolan

Nolan is a right little sh*t and someone who's had Sunderland's number in the past. He's clever, physical, and he generally does more than anyone to get Andy Carroll going. On the other hand, he is the kind of player who gets a little wound-up and niggly if things aren't going his way, so while he can be a big asset for his side he can also be a bit of a liability. How Cattermole matches up to him on the day may determine which one he is at the Stadiumof Light.

Recent form: DLWWW

West Ham 0-0 Aston Villa

Everton 2-1 West Ham (Zarate)

West Ham 1-0 Newcastle (Cresswell)

WBA 1-2 West Ham (Nolan, Tomkins)

West Ham 3-1 Swansea City (Carroll 2, Sakho)

Last time around: Sunderland 1-2 West Ham United (31/3/2014)

This was another one of those 'looked like curtains' games of which there were loads at the end of last season. It was live on TV, and Sunderland were poor from the off. 2-0 down after 50 minutes, an Adam Johnson goal failed to produce any final push for points and Gus Poyet's men looked to be headed to a meek relegation.

We decided to be awesome and stay up instead.

The ref: Phil Dowd

The experienced Staffordshire official takes charge of Sunderland for the second time this season having presided over the 3-1 away win at Crystal Palace. In fact, Dowd has become something of a lucky charm for Sunderland in recent times having been the man in the middle for the 4-0 win over Cardiff and the 3-0 win over Newcastle last season.

What the managers said

Gus Poyet

This game in particular is a different challenge because of the players they have got.

The power, the size, how difficult they are to mark in certain aspects of the game.

We need to do a few things differently.

I don't think that Chelsea, Man City and Liverpool (Sunderland's last three opponents) put too many crosses in.

West Ham are one of the teams that cross the ball the most.

So we are going to have to adapt to certain things.

We are going to have to deal with something that we have not dealt with week-in, week-out.

We haven't played against a Carroll yet.

And for the centre-halves and the goalkeeper, it is going to be a challenge.

Sam Allardyce

They're hugely difficult at home, playing them away has been tough for us. They've been struggling for goals recently, I think Connor Wickham and Steven Fletcher would've wanted a few more goals than they've got and if they had they would have converted their draws to wins.

Hopefully we can keep those guys quiet on Saturday and deliver another good away performance.

Roker Report predicts

Sunderland win! Why not?! Are West Ham going to get four Premier League wins in a row? May be, but we are decent at home this year and perhaps we are due a little luck too. Very tough game against a side bang in form, why we'll say 2-1 home win.