Writer: Gary Johnson
Date:Friday December 4 2009
Steve Bruce has warned his players that if they do not impress away from home they could be heading for the door. Sunderland have been impressive at home and have gone unbeaten since August when Chelsea won comfortably 3-1. However, SAFC have only won once on the opening day against Bolton and their luck needs to improve as they head to Craven Cottage this Sunday.
Bruce said on his teams away form: 'Yes it is doing my head in. That is a good way of expressing it.
'We must improve and if we are going to take the club forward it has to come. Even if we had done average away our season would be rocking and rolling.
'We have to arrest out away from. We have to get a result to get the monkey off our back.
'If we had another four points we would be fifth or sixth. That would have been better. If you are not 100 per cent at it you lose.
'Everyone has a struggle with it. It is hard away from home. People ask what is the difference. If we knew we would be ok. It is difficult to win away games in this division.
'The good work we have done against the top teams should be a bonus on top of the bread and butter but away from home we have let ourselves down.
'This is a crucial period in December. We are in good shape.'
Fulham have many injury concerns but the main one that will please Sunderland fans is that Andy Johnson will miss this game through injury. They will have a few knocks and bruises from their 1-0 win in Europe on Thursday evening so Sunderland will look to use this as an advantage.
Murphy was an injury doubt for their Europa League game on Thursday but managed to play and pull the strings in the centre of the park. If we can manage to keep him quiet in the middle and Cana can steamroll his way through we should be good enough to boss the midfield on Sunday.
Kenwyne Jones was taken off as a safety measure during his reserve outing with a dead leg but will be fine to start on Sunday. Bruce will also be upset that Mensah is again an injury doubt as he looked to re-shuffle the centre backs after their poor performance in the last away defeat against Wigan.
Jones has been out of action for three games due to a harsh red card when he pushed Illunga to the ground in the 2-2 draw against West Ham last month. He will be fit and ready to punish their defence as he looks to improve his goal tally this campaign.
Last game at Craven Cottage
Fulham 0 - 0 Sunderland
Fulham are now 5 games unbeaten at home.
Fulham 1 - 1 Sunderland
Sunderland face Portsmouth at home next weekend.
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Date:Friday December 4 2009
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