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Sunderland v Fulham Preview: Cats Looking For Cup Tonic

Sunderland host Championship Fulham in the FA Cup and will - should - fancy their chances of progression.

Chris Brunskill/Getty Images

Sunderland team news

Gus Poyet is expected to persist with two up front, taking the opportunity to try to bed in a system away from the pressures of the league.

Adam Johnson, Wes Brown and Lee Cattermole look pretty certain to miss out, though, handing opportunities to others with Sebastian Coates and Emanuele Giaccherini the most like beneficiaries.

Fulham team news

Cottagers boss Kit Symons may opt to rotate his squad quite dramatically given the heavier schedule of the football league. Veteran midfielder Scott Parker may miss out after picking up an ankle injury in the midweek win over Nottingham Forest, but Lasse Vigen Christensen could return after a hamstring problem

Predicted line-up

Sunderland - Football tactics and formations

Key match-up: Jermain Defoe v Anyone

Let's be honest here... The system and team are being redesigned around Jermain Defoe and he has to justify it. I'm sure he will.

Recent form: DLDWW

Draw: Fulham 0-0 Wolves

Loss: Cardiff 1-0 Fulham

Draw: Wolves 3-3 Fulham

Win: Fulham 2-1 Reading

Win: Fulham 3-2 Nottingham Forest

Last time around: Sunderland 0-1 Fulham (17/8/2013)

The day that was supposed to be the first of the rest of Sunderland's lives but instead feels like about three different lifetimes ago. Optimism was high, Cabral was spotted, Ji nearly scored. What an odd world we live in.

What the (kind-off) managers said

Charlie Oatway

The FA Cup gives the so-called smaller clubs the chance to play against the so-called bigger clubs. That's why I have always loved it - because I have always played for smaller clubs and this was our chance.

Now I am a coach at a bigger club and it has given me the chance to get a different spin on it.

I was useless with the cups (as a player).

It had to change sooner or later though and I guess I have done better as a coach because we did well in the cup competitions last year.

Kit Symons

It's a bonus game but I would expect us to go and win at Sunderland.

They are a Premier League side with some quality players but I have such belief in this squad of players that I would expect us to go up there and get a result.

Roker Report predicts

I can't be bothered with pessimism, so I'm going to go against everything my instinct is telling me about Sunderland's innate Sunderland-ness being almost sure to make this a painfully annoying 90 minutes and predict a 3-1 win instead.