Preview: West Ham United vs. Sunderland

Sunderland manager Gus Poyet in the dugout during the match against Chelsea on December 4, 2013
© Getty Images
Sports Mole looks ahead to Saturday's Premier League clash between West Ham United and Sunderland.

Two of the Premier League's struggling sides meet at Upton Park on Saturday when West Ham United host Sunderland.

While the Hammers are level on 13 points with 18th-placed Fulham and out of the relegation zone only on goal difference, their visitors are rooted to the foot of the table having picked up only eight points from 15 matches.

Sam Allardyce's side have suffered back-to-back defeats against Crystal Palace and Liverpool and will be aiming to make it three home wins from eight against the Black Cats.

Sunderland have also endured two successive defeats, going down 4-3 to Chelsea at home before suffering a 2-1 loss to Tottenham Hotspur at the Stadium of Light.

Guy Poyet's team will be without goalkeeper Keiren Westwood and defender Carlos Cuellar, while West Ham will have winger Stewart Downing unavailable because of an ankle injury he suffered against Liverpool.

Kevin Nolan is suspended for receiving a red card against the Reds, while Ricardo Vaz Te (shoulder), Winston Reid (ankle) and Mladen Petric (calf) will also sit out Saturday's encounter for the hosts.

Striker Andy Carroll remains on the sidelines despite having started light training in an effort to recover from a foot injury.

However, 20-year-old Ravel Morrison will be back from suspension for the Hammers and is likely to slot back into the starting lineup.

Recent form

West Ham: DLLWLL

Sunderland: WWLDLL

Possible starting lineups

West Ham: Jaaskelainen; Demel, Collins, Tomkins, McCartney; Noble, Diame; Cole, Morrison, Jarvis; Maiga

Sunderland: Mannone; Celustka, O'Shea, Brown, Bardsley; Larsson, Ki, Colback, Johnson; Altidore, Fletcher

Sports Mole says: 1-0

Sunderland manager Gus Poyet in the dugout during the match against Chelsea on December 4, 2013
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