Sunderland v West Ham United preview

East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Sunderland v West Ham United preview Sunderland v West Ham United preview

West Ham travel to struggling Sunderland in the Premier League this evening as they look to move closer to Stoke City in tenth.

Sam Allardyce's side are six points behind the Potters in 11th, but could move within three points of Mark Hughes' side with another win.

The Hammers were booed following last week's 2-1 victory over Hull City at Upton Park, so will be keen to put in an improved showing as they head to the Stadium of Light to face a Sunderland side who have not won in the league since February 2.

The Black Cats appear to have suffered something of a Wembley hangover, picking up just one point from a possible nine and scoring just once since losing 3-1 to Manchester City in the League Cup Final at the beginning of March.

That recent slump in form has left Gus Poyet's side second-bottom of the Premier League standings, four points behind 17th-place West Bromwich Albion with two games in hand on the Baggies.

Sunderland have hardly thrived in front of their own supporters either this term, winning as many away from Wearside as in front of their own fans, whilst West Ham have only won three games away from Upton Park.

Defenders Roger Johnson and James Tomkins both face late fitness tests and could boost Allardyce's defensive options if declared fit, whilst fellow centre-back James Collins (calf) is definitely sidelined.

Loanee Marco Boriello (calf) is also out, along with utility man Joey O'Brien (dislocated shoulder).

New Zealand international Winston Reid returns to Allardyce's squad after recovering from illness. Winger Matt Jarvis is also back after missing the Hull victory with a thigh problem.

Sunderland have just the two absentees, forward Steven Fletcher (ankle) and goalkeeper Keiren Westwood (shoulder). 

There is better news regarding Fabio Borini, the Italian eligible once more after missing the 2-1 defeat to Liverpool last week under the terms of his loan deal from the Anfield side.

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