Fulham v Sunderland: Match Preview

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Football News

Fulham v Sunderland; Craven Cottage; Premier League; Sunday 6 May 2012, 14:00 KO

Team News

Fulham will have Martin Jol back in the dugout to instruct them against Sunderland on Sunday. Jol missed games against Everton and Liverpool because of a chest infection.

Striker Andy Johnson is a doubt for the Cottagers, after suffering a recurrence of a thigh problem.

Meanwhile, Martin O'Neill has more to worry about as Nicklas Bendtner and John O'Shea are major doubts, because of foot injuries that both players picked up during training this week.

Midfielder Craig Gardner is available again for Sunderland, after serving a one-match ban, but Titus Bramble is more likely to miss out since he is not fully fit.

Jol plots winning return

Martin Jol hopes that his return will be accompanied by a Fulham win.

"I'm feeling much better but it took longer (to recover) than I thought," he told reporters in his pre-match press conference.

The Dutchman is urging his players to build on Tuesday's unexpected win at Anfield and eventually overcome the 50 point mark.

"We want to end the season in the top ten and hopefully, because we do well at home, we can get the 50 points we want this weekend. I think we're in a fantastic position to get even more points on the board."

At the moment, Fulham rests in ninth position with 49 points, and a win will propel them above Liverpool.

"If we can get six points from our last two games we would finish on 55 points. This season we've played in Europe so to finish with 50 points or more would be fantastic," he added.

Sunderland are trailing Fulham in 11th place with 45 points. With only 4 points and West Brom between them, they will try to close the gap on Fulham.

While Jol was stating his reasons for winning the game, O'Neill was outlining his own, urging his players to gather some late-season momentum.

"Momentum at the end of the season doesn't necessarily account for next year, but it's better to head off having won the last couple of games than having lost them," the Black Cats boss told reporters.

Sunderland have drawn five of their last six games, but a finish in the top ten would be moral-boosting for the club.

"Maybe 25 years ago this game would be considered an end-of-season event, but having so much money at stake for each position attaches a great deal of importance to the games," O'Neill added.

Sunderland scored only once in seven games against Fulham, who are showing really good form, and O'Neill expects it to be a really hard test.

"Craven Cottage is a great ground with its own history - is absolutely fantastic. I am hoping it will be a decent game and that we will go there and be as competitive as we possibly can be."

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