Both sides will be viewing three points as essential, when struggling duo West Ham United and Sunderland meet in a proverbial six-pointer at Upton Park.
The manner of the goals West Ham conceded at Liverpool last time out was unfortunate, but their problem, which has been well documented, lies in attack, with a shortage of goals threatening to land them in a relegation battle as Andy Carroll continues to be sidelined by injury. Their home record is also hardly a source of inspiration, with only two victories, and Sam Allardyce has often cut a frustrated figure this season.
Sunderland are now in danger of being cast adrift at the bottom as defeat against Tottenham last time out saw them slip five points behind their nearest rivals. Manager Gustavo Poyet was angered by his team’s failings against Andre Villas-Boas’ side, as two soft goals – including the fifth own goal they have scored already this season – allowed Spurs to overturn a one-goal deficit.
West Ham will be without Kevin Nolan – who has proved unpopular among supporters recently – after his sending off at Liverpool. Defenders James Collins and Guy Demel are both expected to recover from illness in time to play.
Defender Carlos Cuellar, who has a hip injury, is the only player missing for Sunderland.
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