Sunderland V West Ham Preview
Stadium of Light
Sunderland will be looking forward to this cup fixture and will be aiming to build on their last impressive home display against Arsenal. Steve Bruce has said since he took over Roy Keane that he wants to go far in the cups and will start with a strong team tomorrow.
West Ham are facing the age old problem of deciding whether to go for a strong team and progress in the cup, or field a weak team and focus on the league. After a very poor start and only managing one point we all presume it will be the latter.
Sunderland were unlucky not to get further last season but failed to beat a very average Aston Villa, Bruce will not allow the same attitude this season.
Vital Quotes: Darren Bent
'I think we've started the season well and we've shown a hell of a lot of spirit,' Bent told the Evening Chronicle.
'We've worked very hard for each other and I think we got what we deserved against Arsenal. We're never-say-die and that has to be the attitude for the season if we're going to finish in the top half of the table.
'Our problem's been that we've done well against the top teams and let ourselves down against the so-called lesser sides.
'There was a bit of that again in the fact we lost at West Brom, but we showed a strong mentality against Wigan and Arsenal and we have to keep that going.'
Sunderland Team News:
Sunderland will hand starts to new signing Asamoah Gyan, making his debut, and Bolo Zenden.
Bruce is still without injured Turner Mensah, and Gordon and captain Lee Cattermole will finish his two game suspension after the cup tie.
Player to watch: Asamoah Gyan
Gyan has already played twice and scored a goal and helped create the last gasp equaliser against Arsenal. Gyan, has been building his fitness and will be aiming to get a good game under his belt.
Gyan will most likely be partnered with Bent as Bruce looks to go all out against the bottom placed team in the league.
West Ham Team News:
Avram Grant, who returns from a Jewish Holy day will name a strong team but will not have Behrami and Hitzlsperger for this game.
Player to watch: Scott Parker
Parker has been the one shining lights for the Hammers this season and will be their biggest threat going forward also.
Match Facts & Stats
Overall, this is the 80th meeting of these clubs. Sunderland have won 28, lost 31 and drawn 20 of the previous 79.
The Black Cats are unbeaten at home this season (W2, D2).
Sunderland 2 - 0 West Ham I feel we will be too strong for Avram Grant's low confidence team. Bruce demands the best from his players and also is desperate for a good cup run this season.
Next Fixtures: Liverpool (A)
Sunderland face Liverpool at Anfield on Saturday.