Last Updated: 19/11/11 4:53pm
Thanks for all your comments folks, shame we couldn't have witnessed a goal fest! Stay tuned for the match report, player ratings and manager's reactions.
And that's it! Sunderland could have nicked it there from that late deflection if it weren't for the instinctive reflexes of Mark Schwarzer. The hosts had the better of the chances with Richardson and Colback striking the bar in the first-half. Etuhu then saw his header for Fulham cleared off the line by Lee Cattermole. Both sides failed clinically in front of goal. 0-0
Instinctive save from Schwarzer! Amazing reflexes from the man who is celebrating his 450th Premier League appearence. As Sessegnon tries to whip an effort into the far post, it takes a nick off Senderos and the diversion is blocked by the outstretched boot of the Australian. Great save.
Bardsley goes down under a Ruiz challenge in the box, it was never a penalty and the referee thought so too. Nothing doing.
There's some tired legs out there at the moment as the game begins to open up. Seems to be 'you attack, we attack' mentality.
The youngster Ryan Noble, who has impressed lately in the Sunderland reserves, comes on for Elmohamady. Could he be the hero here for Sunderland or can Fulham hold on?
Dempsey's chance just sums up this game! Superb counter-attack, Dembele sets the American up beautifully who surges in the box and tries to drive it into the bottom corner first time but gets his effort drastically wrong and drags it well well. Awful finish.
Sessegnon drives into the box, he tries to slip in a cross which is blocked by Duff for a Sunderland corner.
As has so often been the case in this game, the corner is not made the most of and Sunderland are untroubled from the set-piece as they launch on the counter.
AJ has made Fulham more of a threat since coming on. He's got one thing on his mind and that's to shoot. His teasing run and effort goes out for another Cottagers corner.
Etuhu is a real presence in the box, he out-jumps Bendtner from the corner and his header, which looks like Senderos gets the final touch, sails over the bar.
Miussa Dembele takes the bull by the horns and just goes for a strike, it's speculative but gets a deflective for a Fulham corner.
O'Shea is pulled up for offside, he's half a yard off on the right but that doesn't stop the Irishman from having a pop at the assistant! Think that's more frustration because of how today's game is going for the hosts.
Sessegnon fizzes it into Ji Dong-Won, it's a difficult one for the Korean to control and Fulham capitalise on a poor touch in the box to clear the danger.
It's been a frustrating day for Steve Bruce - I think on reflection he'll be wondering how Sunderland are not ahead in this game.
Duff is back defending now, they're doubling up a bit more on the dangerous Sessegnon who is hugging this touchline on the left.
Sessegnon is a superb box of tricks! He jinks his way through two or three players on the left, cuts back a delightful ball into the box but Richardson's outstretched foot can't get to it at the back-post. Good chance.
Murphy shows his experience and class to divert a Sunderland cross into the path of Schwarzer with a calm header. Great defending.
This game just needs one moment of quality to separate the two sides - maybe a Dembele or Richardson bit of magic.
AJ gets his first run of the game as he attempts to run on to a throughball, but it's a good starting position from Westwood who gets down before the striker and gathers. Good pace from the shot-stopper there.
Westwood pushes away the set-piece and Dempsey can't make enough of the loose ball. The search for that elusive goal continues!
Fulham win a corner after great determined play by Dembele on the right. He's outshone his Cottagers colleagues today.
Bah, spoke too soon. Turner's all cleaned up, has a new jersey on and is now back on the field. Hard as nails that man!
Colback throws himself in front of a Duff left-footed drive, fantastic block by the central midfielder in the box.
The centre-back has left the field clutching a tissue tightly to his nose, looks a nasty one. Think it was from an aerial challenge - will keep you updated on Sunderland's centre-half.
Play has been stopped for the time-being as Turner gets treated for a bloody nose... I'm not swearing there by the way.
Murphy has a clear sight of goal on the edge of the box, but his effort is tame and Westwood barely breaks sweat to collect.
Schwarzer's waving to his relatives in the crowd from that corner. The big Australian gets away with that flap as a Sunderland strike is driven wide of the far stick.
Turner lofts a ball into the far-post after the set-piece finds its way all the way to the defender. Brown attacks the cross but his pull-back is met by a Fulham clearance for another corner.
Bendtner is actually a shrewd signing for Sunderland, he's extremely comfortable on the ball and has shown enough experience which has only benefitted the home side. Very good display from the Dane.
Sloppy play from Cattermole in the centre of the park gifts possession back to Fulham who look to slow the tempo down. Untidy from the home side.
But again another set-piece chance goes begging as Sunderland fail to carve out an effort to test Schwarzer.
Bendtner rises highest from the corner, Schwarzer tips the ball away from Sessegnon and Fulham scramble some sort of clearance for another corner.
Baird gets a toe to the ball to try and stop another Sunderland attack, he can only see it out for a corner.
Sunderland are getting to gripes with the tie now. Sessegnon's pace is causing problems once more and the width Richardson and Elmohamady are creating is putting Fulham on the backfoot.
Bendtner fires in a cross from the left, Richardson is there again and goes for the header but the winger doesn't get enough power at the near-post and Hangeland blocks.
Ever-present Wes Brown shows why he's played every minute - by decking his own team-mates so they don't get the chance to! The former Red Devils defender floors Michael Turner as they both attempt to go for the ball in a moment of comedy.
Zamora is slowly getting into this game, he's not been able to test Westwood but seems to be seeing more of the ball this half.
Sunderland have been let off there following that bit of possession from Fulham, good bit of pressure but there's still no clinical edge from either side in front of goal.
Murphy will NOT want to see that corner on the replay. He goes to drill it into the box and instead dribbles it straight out for a goalkick. Awful!
The ball is laid off to Baird on the left from Zamora, he strikes a low effort towards Westwood's left-hand post - the keeper does well to get down early with plenty of bodies in the way and parries the shot wide.
Zamora goes down under what seems a nothing challenge, its a soft decision from the ref as Brown gets penalised. Edge of the box - superb opportunity for the Cottagers.
Dembele is having a top game for Jol's men - certainly their best player in what has been a below-par Fulham performance so far.
Zamora finds himself on the right, he's looking to get it on to his left this time but instead of going for the shot he lifts it into the area. There's no-one there though, poor final ball from what could've been a promising position.
Richardson tries to pick up the pieces from a Sessegnon run, Fulham do well on both occasions to clear from the Sunderland pair. Fulham straight on the backfoot.
@mchooly's tweet says: "Good start from Sunderland but need to be getting goals as we've played well and not got anything from most games this season."
That's it for this half. Some entertaining football which has seen Sunderland strike the woodwork twice through Jack Colback and Kieran Richardson. Fulham could have nicked the lead right at the death of that half there but Dickson Etuhu saw his header cleared off the line by Lee Cattermole. 0-0.
Cattermole denies an Etuhu header! Great clearance from the Sunderland skipper who was nailed to Westwood's left-hand post. Cracking piece of defending in the final minutes and what was against the run of play.
Dempsey gets into a good area and releases Duff down the right channel, the Irishman pulls back a tame cross which is deflected away for a corner.
There's one additional minute to be played in this half. Fulham seem frustrated, Sunderland enjoying possession but nothing clinical from either side so far.
At times Sunderland's play is a little over-elaborate. There's opportunities when they just need to pack the box with bodies rather than try and walk it in from the edge of the area.
Baird nearly latches on to that killer pass too but Westwood is quick off his line and gathers in the area away from the defender.
This match could go either way at the moment, there just needs to be a final touch to that killer pass because both have threatened.
Turner goes on a cracking run but is pulled up for offside, very tight that one but think the asisstant has it right. The centre-back had Hughes all over the place there.
Colback is signalling his intent to keep a regular spot in Bruce's midfield. The 22-year-old is extremely strong in the centre, his tough tackling is gaining the respect of the Sunderland faithful.
That set-up surprises everyone as it's laid off to Bardsley inside who strikes it first time, luckily for Fulham a few of the wall seemed on the ball and managed to block the powerful effort.
Bendtner gets caught late by Etuhu to the left of the goal. It's just over 20 yards out, perfect for a right-footer. Richardson and Sessegnon are over it.
Dickson Etuhu goes in with a high foot as Cattermole attempts a header on the bounce. Easy booking for the Nigerian.
It's the away side who are now enjoying a decent spell of possession - very little happening in the box for either side however thus far.
Westwood does his job well and manages to put off Dembele in the box who is looking to guide a header into the corner. Westwood made himself big giving the Belgian little room for manoeuvre.
Bendtner is leading the line well up top for the home side, he's hungry for the ball - wonder if any Champions League clubs are watching like he hopes?!
Dempsey is slowly getting into this game for Fulham - the Cottagers need his energy to get this match started, very low-key from the visitors so far.
Bright play from Fulham on their right between Duff and Etuhu sees Zamora with the ball down the channel, he cuts back inside and delivers a hopeful deep cross into the box but Westwood communicates with his defence well to see the ball out for a goalkick.
Terrible goalkick from Schwarzer sees Sunderland able to attack as he fails to clear his own half and launches it out for a throw-in.
That's very worrying for Bruce to have your captain again having a yellow card to his name - last thing you want when your talisman is needed in these types of games.
Cattermole gets a yellow for a late challenge on Dembele. He's walking a tight rope now, silly tackle really - that's his 47th yellow in his career!
Dempsey gets floored by Turner after the American goes in on the defender - sore one for the ankle as the decision goes against the midfielder.
Fair play to Fulham though, they're standing their ground despite the numerous attacks. It's all happening down Sunderland's right too with Baird not having the best of afternoons against Elmohamady.
Schwarzer punts the ball upfield as Fulham desperately try to stop more Sunderland attacks. It's all Brucey's men so far. Fulham are struggling to get out of their half.
Bendtner's easily onside there - poor decision from the assistant to call offside, superb run from the Dane from a Colback ball. If play had've continued, he was through one-on-one there.
Colback delivers a decent cross from the left after finding himself in a wide area on the left, Sessegnon leaps to direct his header towards goal but it's easy for Schwarzer who collects on the bounce.
Elmohamady is keen to take a touch and whip it straight into the box when he gets it on the right, causing Fulham allsorts of problems.
It's so compact in the middle, both sides are guilty of not using their flanks enough - when they have done, chances have been created more often.
Baird competently deals with a throughball to calm everything down for the visitors - they'll need to use their wealth of experience at the back if they are to be victorious today.
Wes Brown does his defensive duties well and does enough to put off a rising Zamora header. Goal-kick Sunderland, great play from the experienced centre-back.
Those couple of chances certainly seem to have kickstarted Fulham's afternoon, as Jol's outfit enjoy a spell of possession.
Off the bar AGAIN by Sunderland! This time it's Colback, the youngster finds himself at the backpost and nicks the ball away from his marker to turn and smash an effort on to the bar.
Sunderland are playing excellently well so far, high energy stuff from the hosts. They're got Fulham firmly on the backfoot.
Elmohamady is finding so much space down this right channel, the Black Cats need to use him more because his pace is disturbing Fulham's back four.
Murphy goes for a placed effort around 20 yards out, well blocked by Sunderland. That shot was certainly goalbound from the experienced midfielder.
It's pretty action-packed in these early stages now - Schwarzer has had to come to Fulham's rescue a couple of times.
Colback wastes a glorious opportunity, he latches on to a Bendtner throughball in the box, he's on his weaker side as he hits the byline - his attempted pull-back towards an unmarked Sessegnon is blocked by Schwarzer at the near stick. The goal was gaping there.
Richardson hits the bar! Sloppy on the edge of the box by Zamora, Sessegnon nicks it down the left flank, he tees it up delightfully for an advancing Richardson who connects with the header at the near-post - but it cannons off the bar.
Bardsley lofts it in, Schwarzer's flapping all over the place but think he got the slightest of touches to divert away the danger. Cattermole forces a corner from the rebound.
Foul on Sessegnon by Etuhu, sees Sunderland with a free-kick in a decent position. Arouns 30 yards out on the left. Bardsley's stepping over it.
Great feet by Dembele, the Belgian cuts from his right on to his left on the edge of the box, he lashes a strike down the throat of Westwood who can only parry - partly because he had no choice! Promising start from Martin Jol's side.
Both teams are very good in possession, but it's that final ball they need - who will be the first to break the deadlock?
Duff gets an early run at his marker down the right, he's forced into the middle where it's quite compact. Sunderland clear before he releases Dembele.
It's been tidy by Sunderland so far, they're enjoying the lion's share of possession. Bardsley unleashes a decent strike after absolutely no challenge. His 30-yard efffort just goes wide.
Dembele goes down under a usual robust Cattermole challenge - think they'll be plenty of those flying in in the middle of the park today.
Sessegnon tries to work some space for himself down the right but just over-runs the ball following his surge into the box.
Bendtner chases down a loose pass in the Fulham half, signalling his lively intentions early on - he'll be looking to add to his international goal tally in midweek.
Stephane Sessegnon will be lining up just behind modest marksman Nicklas Bendtner for Sunderland in today's game, Seb Larsson is currently serving a suspension. Whereas Steve Sidwell failed a late fitness test for Fulham and has been replaced by Dickson Etuhu in the heart of midfield.
@TonyjRandall has tweeted a score prediction of 2-1 to Fulham after channelling into his mystical powers. Any other thoughts on today's game?
Fulham: Schwarzer, Hughes, Hangeland, Baird, Senderos, Dempsey, Murphy, Etuhu, Duff, Zamora, Dembele. Subs: Etheridge, Johnson, Kasami, Ruiz, Gecov, Briggs, Kacaniklic.
Sunderland: Westwood, O'Shea, Turner, Brown, Bardsley, Elmohamady, Colback, Cattermole, Richardson, Bendtner, Sessegnon. Subs: Carson, Gardner, Vaughan, Ji, Meyler, Noble, Egan.
Not the best of facts there, apologies. But now is the time to change those shoddy statistics - let's hope that happens today. Fancying a 2-2 today myself, how about anybody else?
Meanwhile just one spot below Brucey's boys in 16th lie Fulham who have lost three of their last four Premier League matches. HOWEVER, with Bobby Zamora revelling in the joy of making his first international start for England - can the Cottagers' no.25 help halt that losing streak?
Sunderland, currently in 15th place, find themselves barren in front of goal when it comes to facing Fulham having failed to hit the onion bag in five of their last six meetings - including four in a row.
The team news will be in shortly so brace yourselves for that. In the meantime that you are getting suitably braced, I'll post some stats that Sunderland and Fulham fans will NOT enjoy... hmm...
I'll be your eyes and ears for this afternoon's match so email all of your score predictions, thoughts on the season so far, expectations for today's game etc to: firstname.lastname@example.org or Tweet me @HayleyP_11