Preview - Sunderland

Everything you need to know about Saturday's game

The background 

Sam Allardyce makes his first – and last – return to the Boleyn Ground on Saturday as West Ham United look to get back to winning ways in the Barclays Premier League.
Big Sam will bring his relegation-threatened Sunderland side to E13 for the lunchtime kick-off, with the Hammers hoping to move back into the top six.
The last two league outings – away matches at Southampton and Norwich – yielded a single point – but Slaven Bilic’s men should be full of confidence after bouncing back with a 5-1 victory over Blackburn Rovers in the Emirates FA Cup last weekend.
Dimitri Payet was in imperious form, scoring twice and setting up another to help the Hammers to the quarter-finals, and the Hammers certainly have plenty to play for over the closing months of the campaign.
Sunderland, too, have lots to fight for, and their last two results have brought them right back into the mix.
After coming back from 2-0 down to draw at Liverpool, they followed that with a 2-1 victory against Manchester United and are now just a single point from safety, with 23 points to their name.

The history

Saturday’s game will be the 90th meeting between West Ham and Sunderland in the clubs’ histories.
The head-to-head record is evenly balanced, with West Ham just holding the edge with 34 victories to the Black Cats’ 31.
West Ham are unbeaten in the last five Sunderland clashes, winning at the Stadium of Light in March 2014 and at home in March the following year.
The most recent meeting, in the north east in October ended 2-2, with Carl Jenkinson and Dimitri Payet scoring the visitors’ goals.

The match

Team news

West Ham United 
Sam Byram comes back into the Hammers squad after missing last weekend’s FA Cup victory at Blackburn Rovers due to being cup tied.
Fellow defenders James Tomkins and Joey O’Brien remain sidelined, and although Winston Reid returned to training this week, this game is likely to come around too quickly.
Elsewhere, Cheikhou Kouyate’s red card at Blackburn was overturned, meaning he is available on Saturday, while Andy Carroll has also resumed training.
Jan Kirchoff has recovered from the hamstring problem which forced him out of Sunderland’s game against Manchester United.
Billy Jones, Sebastian Larsson and Younes Kaboul are also available, although they are unlikely to start.
Duncan Watmore and Jeremain Lens are out.

Match info

  • Saturday’s match referee is Mike Dean. His two previous West Ham assignments this term have ended all square – the 2-2 draw at home to Norwich and the 1-1 stalemate at Aston Villa. His assistants will be John Brooks and Simon Long. The fourth official is Mike Jones.
  • West Ham have only lost one of their last seven games against Sunderland, although four have been drawn (W2, D4).
  • The Hammers have won seven and lost just one of the last 10 Premier League home games against the Black Cats.
  • The Hammers are unbeaten in their last 12 home games in all competitions (W7, D5).
  • Victory would give West Ham their highest total of points after 27 Premier League games.
  • Sam Allardyce's side have failed to keep a clean sheet in their last 13 league and cup games, conceding a total of 27 goals.
  • Sunderland have allowed their opponents 158 shots on target against them this season, more than any other team in the top flight.

Ticketing, coverage, travel and other info

  • Tickets for Saturday’s game have SOLD OUT, although tickets may become available online as Season Ticket Holders relist.
  • The District and Hammersmith & City lines are set to serve Upton Park station as normal on Saturday. Supporters travelling in from East Anglia and Essex to Stratford or Liverpool Street should note that trains will only run as far as Wickford or Ingatestone. Replacement buses will run. Click here for the latest news on the tubes and here for National Rail.
  • A dull day is expected in east London on Saturday, with cloudy skies and temperatures of 6C (43F) greeting the teams at kick-off.
  • If you’re not coming to the game, make sure you stay abreast of all the action on our digital channels. We’ll have live audio commentary and text updates on the Live Match Centre,  along with in-running photos and stats. You can get involved in the conversation on social using the hashtag #WHUSUN