Sunderland v West Ham preview: Black Cats search for second league win of 2017
Last Updated: 15/04/17 7:42am
Bottom-club Sunderland's hopes of avoiding the drop are hanging by a thread as they prepare to host West Ham in the Premier League.
The Black Cats have won just once in 2017 and are 10 points from safety, though they do have a game in hand over 17th-placed Hull City.
Meanwhile, West Ham were slipping precariously close to the drop zone after a run of five defeats, but victory over Swansea moved them up to 36 points alongside Leicester, Burnley and Stoke.
Captain Mark Noble believes the Hammers need just one more win to confirm safety, while Sunderland are unable to hit the 40-point mark even if they win their remaining seven games.
Bryan Oviedo has a hamstring injury and could be out for up to four weeks, while John O'Shea could feature after returning to Sunderland training.
Sebastian Larsson is suspended for the clash after he was sent off against Manchester United last weekend.
West Ham winger Michail Antonio has been ruled out for the rest of the season after manager Slaven Bilic confirmed the 26-year-old suffered a "significant" hamstring injury against Swansea last weekend.
Noble begins a two-match ban but Bilic is confident Andy Carroll, Sam Byram and Aaron Cresswell will be fit to face.
Sunderland are winless in their last seven league games against West Ham (D3 L4), with the last two finishing 1-0 to the Hammers.
However, West Ham haven't done the league double against Sunderland since the 2008/09 campaign (under Gianfranco Zola).
Jermain Defoe has scored six goals in 15 Premier League games against his former club, but he's yet to score against them in three appearances for Sunderland.
Sunderland have now gone seven successive Premier League games and 675 minutes without scoring. The Premier League record is currently held by Crystal Palace in 1994/95, who went nine consecutive games and 838 minutes without a goal.
On Saturday, it'll be over three months since Sunderland scored a goal at home in the Premier League (January 14) and they've now attempted 51 successive shots without scoring at the Stadium of Light.
West Ham have lost 16 Premier League matches this season, already twice the number they lost in the whole of last season (8).
Sunderland, welcome to the last-chance saloon. I think they are down regardless but they have to win this match to stand any chance.
There are ways of going down and they need to get three points for the fans, to give them something ahead of next season.
You might as well turn the floodlights off if they lose.
PAUL PREDICTS: 1-0 (Sky Bet odds 10/1)
West Ham are Sky Bet's 6/5 favourites for the victory with Sunderland 21/10 while the draw is a 5/2 chance. Carroll and Defoe share favouritism in the first goalscorer betting and are 4/1 to both find the net.