MX23RW : Friday, February 22 19:26:41

Preview: West Ham United vs. Sunderland

Sports Mole previews Dick Advocaat's first match in charge of Sunderland as the relegation-threatened Black Cats travel to out-of-sorts West Ham in the Premier League.

Dick Advocaat's Sunderland rescue mission starts with Saturday's late Premier League kickoff as the Black Cats travel to face West Ham United at Upton Park.

The veteran Dutch manager was quickly appointed until the end of the season following this week's sacking of Gus Poyet, with the club 17th in the table.

The writing was on the wall for Poyet even before half time of their humiliating home thrashing by relegation rivals Aston Villa last weekend, which saw them leapfrogged by their opponents and drop to within a point of the bottom three.

Four goals conceded prior to the break prompted a mass walkout at the Stadium of Light and Poyet appeared resigned to the chop from that moment on.

Perhaps less predictable was his choice of successor. Advocaat, 67, has managed nine different club sides and six international teams, but never in England.

His four-year spell in charge of Rangers from 1998-2002, in which he won the Scottish domestic double and treble in successive years, is the longest that he has ever spent in one job, and so this seems to be a quick fix for Sunderland.

Ironically, Hammers boss Sam Allardyce is the man being tipped to consolidate the Black Cats in the Premier League over the long term, although the 60-year-old has cooled speculation linking him with the club.

He looks increasingly likely to be available in the summer, though, with a seven-game winless run having put pay to West Ham's European hopes and with it the possibility that Allardyce could be handed a contract extension.

A 3-0 defeat to London rivals Arsenal last weekend was a third in a row for the Iron and left them 10th in the table, 18 points behind a third-placed Gunners side which they led by one after the Boxing Day fixtures.

Injury problems at either end of the field have contributed to West Ham's downfall. Both defenders James Tomkins and Winston Reid remain sidelined and so Cheikhou Kouyate will be asked to fill in at centre-back.

Carl Jenkinson is available again after missing the clash with his parent club, and Enner Valencia also hopes to be back in contention after a freak toe injury which saw him cut his foot on a piece of broken glass at home.

Possibly Advocaat's biggest decision for his maiden game in charge is whether to include Adam Johnson in his squad. The winger returned to training this week after the club lifted his suspension following his arrest on suspicion of sexual activity with a 15-year-old girl.

Legal and internal investigations are ongoing and, while the former England international is officially available, reports are claiming that Advocaat will go down a different route and gamble on untried youngster Duncan Watmore.

The 21-year-old has yet to feature in the league since joining from Altrincham in 2013 and only featured intermittently on loan at Hibernian last season, but could be thrown in at the deep end of Sunderland's survival bid.

Aside from sacrificing a midfielder to include Watmore on the flank, Advocaat could name an unchanged team if Steven Fletcher passes a late fitness test. Lee Cattermole is still suspended and Emanuele Giaccherini injured.

West Ham:

Form in Premier League: DDDLLL
Form in all competitions: DLDLLL

Possible starting lineup: Adrian; Jenkinson, Collins, Kouyate, Cresswell; Song, Noble, Nolan, Downing; Sakho, Valencia


Form in Premier League: DLDLDL
Form in all competitions: LLDLDL

Possible starting lineup: Pantilimon; Reveillere, Brown, O'Shea, Van Aanholt; Alvarez, Larsson, Rodwell; Watmore; Fletcher, Defoe

Sports Mole says: 1-0

Share this article now:

Who will win Saturday's Premier League clash between West Ham and Sunderland at Upton Park?

West Ham
West Ham
James Tomkins of West Ham United and Frank Nouble of Ipswich Town in action during the pre-season friendly match between Ipswich Town and West Ham United at Portman Road on July 16, 2014
Read Next:
Report: Tomkins dislocates shoulder

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

Select and display your favourite team's news and scores in this panel

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

Select and display your favourite team's news and scores in this panel
1Manchester CityMan City27212474205465
3Tottenham HotspurSpurs26200654252960
4Manchester UnitedMan Utd26156552351751
7Wolverhampton WanderersWolves2611693433139
10West Ham UnitedWest Ham2696113239-733
12Leicester CityLeicester2695123134-332
13Crystal Palace2676132734-727
14Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton2676132839-1127
16Newcastle UnitedNewcastle2667132234-1225
17Cardiff CityCardiff2674152447-2325
20Huddersfield TownHuddersfield2625191448-3411

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Transfer Talk Daily
Match previews - twice weekly
Morning Briefing (7am UTC)
Ultra close-up image of Kevin De Bruyne [NOT FOR USE IN ARTICLES]Get the latest transfer news, match previews and news direct to your inbox!

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

Select and display your favourite team's news and scores in this panel
Login, I already have my ad-free pass
Log in to customise Sports Mole
Buy ad-free access (show me the options)
Buy monthly ad-free access for £1.20/month
Buy yearly ad-free access for £12 (2 months free)
Settings - Logout - Manage your account
Settings - Logout - Manage your account