Writer: Gary Johnson
Date:Saturday December 4 2010
Stadium of Light
Sunderland need to show their grit and ambition live on Sky as they face a very poor but recently in form West Ham at home.
Sunderland have failed to be beaten at home this season and have to fancy their chances against Avram Grant's team.
West Ham have found form, typically, in the last few games but with Bent, Gyan and Welbeck all looking in form we must take our chance.
If we win this game we can go joint 6th and face Fulham away next to really push on up the league.
Haway the lads, do not let this opportunity go to waste!
"West Ham have had a great week and all of a sudden they`ll be feeling a bit rosy.
"They`ve thumped Manchester United 4-0 in the Carling Cup and beaten Wigan last weekend.
"And when you look at it they`ve got England players right the way through the team - goalkeeper, centre-half, midfielder and striker.
"West Ham are still bottom of the league though.
"That`s the Premier League this year because a lot of clubs have invested well and improved their squads. We`re one, Stoke are another."
Bruce said about Parker: "I`m a great admirer of Scott Parker in midfield. I think he`s a terrific player to have around at club level.
"It should be a good battle between him and Lee Cattermole because they`re both similar in the way they play and they both drive the team forward."
Bruce continued: "The one thing we have been able to do is bounce back from bad results," said Bruce.
"Taking eight points from the four games after the Newcastle defeat was a terrific response.
"The thick end of the season is coming up and this is a tough time.
"We must bounce back against West Ham and eradicate the Wolves game.
"We`re seventh going into December so we`re doing okay.
"But we`ve still got it in our locker to produce the horrible one which frustrates the life out of me."
Sunderland will have the return of David Meyler as he has recovered amazingly from cruciate knee ligament damage. Meyler should feature on the bench for the first time in 6 months.
John Mensah will be available in defence as he covers Bramble and Turner being out with knee injuries.
The in form loanee from Man Utd has been the biggest threat in the past three games and long may this continue. Welbeck is doing well to keep Gyan on the bench and will be sad if he is dropped back into a midfield role this weekend.
Midfielder Mark Noble (hip) is out for the Hammers as are Manuel da Costa, Anthony Edgar, Peter Kurucz, Thomas Hitzlesperger and Jack Collison.
People laughed when I picked him first in my dream team, and although they are still in the bottom three, Parker has been a revelation for the Hammers.
Parker destroyed us in the Carling Cup with his movement and vision and we need to keep him out of the game in order to win this game.
The Hammers have won half of the 18 Premier League meetings between the sides; the Black Cats have mustered just four successes.
The Black Cats are unbeaten at home in the league this season (W3, D4), a record only Manchester United can match.
Sunderland have conceded just five goals at home so far - only Chelsea (3) have let in fewer.
Referee: Martin Atkinson Assistant referees: David Richardson & Andy Madley Fourth official: Mike Jones
Sunderland 2-1 West Ham With our great home form and West Ham being up against it in the league, we must make sure we get three points tomorrow. Sunderland can go joint 6th with a victory and that should be the teamtalk in itself.
Sunderland head to Craven Cottage for a tricky away day in the capital.
Date:Saturday December 4 2010
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