Sunderland match preview

Barclays Premier League
Stadium of Light
Saturday 29 March
Referee: Andre Marriner

WHUTV - Pre-match press conference, plus live commentary to come
WESTHAM.WAP.COM - All the news, on the move


* West Ham United, tenth in the Barclays Premier League, go to Sunderland with the chance to move to within three points of sixth place depending on results. The home side are in 16th place, four points above the relegation zone.

* Alan Curbishley's men were in good form away from home last Saturday, earning a 1-1 draw at high-flying Everton and could nearly have snatched victory but for a late Freddie Sears' effort that struck the post. The club are still five points ahead of Tottenham Hotspur in eleventh.

* West Ham United have a good recent record at the Stadium of Light, with two wins and a draw in their last four visits.

* West Ham United's last success at Sunderland was on 4 December 2004 in the Championship when second-half goals from Marlon Harewood (54) and Teddy Sheringham (90) secured victory. Anton Ferdinand and Matthew Etherington, the club's longest serving first-teamers, both started the 2-0 win while Bobby Zamora was a late substitute.

Last match

Everton 1-1 West Ham United (22 March): Green, Neill, Ferdinand, Tomkins, McCartney, Ljungberg (Solano 80), Parker (Spector 82), Mullins, Noble, Boa Morte (Sears 50), Ashton
Subs not used: Walker, Cole
Goals: Yakubu 8, Ashton 68

Aston Villa 0-1 Sunderland (22 March): Gordon, Bardsley, Evans, Nosworthy, Collins, Edwards (Leadbitter 67), Whitehead, Richardson, Reid, O'Donovan (Chopra 59), Murphy (Yorke 87)
Subs not used: Fulop, Prica.
Goal: Chopra 83

Team news

* Bobby Zamora may be in line to return after missing the last two fixtures with badly blistered feet. Fellow forward Freddie Sears has been struggling with a groin injury he felt after coming on as a substitute against Everton and a late decision will be made about his potential involvement against Sunderland. Carlton Cole should also be available, having been an unused substitute at Goodison Park.

* Matthew Upson, who had to withdraw from the England squad that faced France on Wednesday, is not certain of returning after missing out on the last three fixtures with a calf injury suffered at Liverpool on 5 March.

* James Tomkins deputised at Everton, getting the full 90 minutes on his first-team debut. Tomkins, who turns 19 with the trip to Sunderland, then continued his week to remember with two goals for England U19s in a 3-1 win friendly win against Russia on Tuesday night in Milton Keynes.

* Jonathan Spector had replaced for Upson in the two previous games but was a late substitute at Everton. Having just helped the US Under-23s to qualify for the Olympics before the Goodison Park game, he came off the bench for his country's senior side on Wednesday in their 3-0 friendly win in Poland.

* George McCartney was with Northern Ireland for their home game against Georgia but missed out on the game as his partner was due to give birth.

* Lucas Neill played the full 90 minutes as Australia made it four points from two 2010 World Cup qualifiers by earning a 0-0 draw against China in Kunming.

* John Pantsil, watched by Alan Curbishley, played the full game as Ghana lost 2-1 to Mexico at Fulham's Craven Cottage.

* Freddie Ljungberg played for an hour as he captained Sweden in a 1-0 friendly defeat by Brazil played at Arsenal's Emirates Stadium.

* While Sears got his second substitute run-out in as many games against Everton, Jack Collison is also in the manager's thoughts for Sunderland.

* Sears missed out on England U19 duty on Tuesday with that groin injury, a game that also featured a substitute appearance for 18-year-old midfielder Junior Stanislas. Collison played for Wales U21s on Wednesday as they won 2-1 in a European Championship qualifier away to Bosnia-Herzegovina.

* Jimmy Walker will again replace Richard Wright as substitute goalkeeper after his loan to Southampton. Wright kept a clean sheet on his Saints debut against Coventry City last weekend.

* For Sunderland, Carlos Edwards and Kenwyne Jones are both free to play despite earlier claims that Trinidad and Tobago would enforce a FIFA rule to stop them turning out after they missed out on the midweek friendly with Jamaica. Both men have been suffering of late, Edwards with a groin problem and Jones from flu. There are also concerns about Danny Collins (dead leg) and Nyron Nosworthy (ankle) 


* After 31 games last season, West Ham United were five points from safety and had just 26 points compared to the 44 they have achieved from the same number of matches this campaign.

* West Ham United and Sunderland last met on 21 October 2007 at the Boleyn Ground. Cole put the home side in front on nine minutes before Jones equalised seven minutes after the interval. The introduction of Nolberto Solano helped change the game and five minutes after coming on, he had forced a 78th-minute own goal by Craig Gordon. Bellamy wrapped up the win in added time.

The lineups were:

West Ham United: Green, Neill (c), Gabbidon, Upson, McCartney, Bowyer, Noble (Solano 73), Mullins, Etherington (Boa Morte 74), Cole (Ferdinand 84), Bellamy
Subs not used: Wright, Camara

Sunderland: Gordon, Halford, Nosworthy, Higginbotham, Collins (Harte 80), O'Donovan (Chopra 46), Leadbitter, Miller, Etuhu, Wallace (Stokes 46), Jones
Subs not used: Ward, Connolly

* United's last trip to the Stadium of Light came on 1 October 2005. Tommy Miller put the home side in front on the stroke of half-time but Yossi Benayoun equalised in the 72nd minute.

* The Hammers have still not lost in all 14 league games this season when they have taken the lead.

* Since the 1-0 win at Fulham on 23 February, West Ham United have conceded first in each of the following five fixtures. In all of the games, the opening goal came inside the first 20 minutes.

* Robert Green has kept eight clean sheets in 31 league games.

* George McCartney is bidding to make his 38th appearance this season in all competitions. He has not missed a match since sitting out the 4-3 home defeat by Tottenham Hotspur on 4 March 2007 - an unbroken run of 46 games.

* Jonathan Spector is a former team-mate of Sunderland manager Roy Keane, having played for Manchester United betwen May 2004 and June 2006.

* McCartney is the only West Ham United player who has featured in every league and cup game to date, starting in each one.

* McCartney spent eight years at Sunderland before joining West Ham United in August 2006. He made 157 league and cup appearances for the club although never scored. 

* In terms of the Premier League, only Green has played every minute of the 31 matches.

* Carlton Cole is two cautions away from a ban after picking up eight yellow cards. The 'one-match ban for five cautions' rule was for all yellow cards up to the end of February. However, a player receiving ten cautions before the end of the second Sunday in April will be suspended for two matches, starting seven days after the tenth offence.

* No Sunderland player has played in every Barclays Premier League game this season. The club have used 31 players this season - 30 in the top-flight - compared to West Ham United's 29 overall and 28 in the league.

* Ashton, with eight goals, seven in the league, is the club's leading scorer. Jones, with 5 in the top-flight alone, is Sunderland's leading top-flight marksman.

* Hayden Mullins turned 29 on Thursday.

* West Ham United will next be in action on Tuesday 8 April when they welcome FA Cup semi-finalists Portsmouth. Sunderland are back in London to face Fulham on Saturday 5 April.

* David Connolly could feature against the club where he scored 14 goals in 48 appearances during the 2003/04 season.

Head to head (Last six Barclays Premier League meetings)

21 October 2007 - West Ham United 3-1 Sunderland
4 February 2006 - West Ham United 2-0 Sunderland
1 October 2005 - Sunderland 1-1 West Ham United
29 April 2005 - West Ham United 1-2 Sunderland
4 December 2004 - Sunderland 0-2 West Ham United
13 March 2004 - Sunderland 2-0 West Ham United

All-time record v Sunderland (all competitions) - W 28, D 19 L 27

Barclays Premier League fixtures (kick-off 3pm unless stated)

Saturday 29 March

Birmingham City v Manchester City
Bolton Wanderers v Arsenal
Derby County v Fulham
Manchester United v Aston Villa (5.15pm)
Portsmouth v Wigan Athletic
Reading v Blackburn Rovers

Sunday 30 March

Chelsea v Middlesbrough (1.30pm)
Liverpool v Everton (4pm)
Tottenham Hotspur v Newcastle United (3pm)

General information

Tickets: For latest information, click here. For details of getting to the Stadium of Light, click here

Weather: The forecast is for rain. The temperature is set to peak at around 12C.