BRUCE LOOKS FOR END TO SUNDERLAND'S DISMAL RUN
The Black Cats have not won since a Darren Bent strike saw them take all three points against Arsenal on Wearside back in November, and their shocking run of form has seen them plummet down the table.
Despite the three-month period without a win, Sunderland are 9/1 with Skybet to take the game 2-1.
Manager Steve Bruce will have midfield terrier Lee Cattermole to call upon after he completed a one-game ban for his sending off at Portsmouth.
However, creative players Andy Reid and Jordan Henderson are both still on the treatment table, with youngster Henderson targeting next month’s fixture at home to Manchester City as his probable return date.
Roy Hogson’s men arrive on the back of a fantastic 1-1 draw in the Europa League on Thursday against Shaktar Donetsk, which takes them through to the next round where they will face Italian giants Juventus.
With the Craven Cottage club in such good form, Sunderland boss Bruce still thinks his side should feel confident ahead of the game.
"The challenge we’ve got to set ourselves is winning the next two games – the matches against Fulham and Bolton," Bruce said.
"And although this long run (13 games) without a win might have sapped some confidence on the pitch and some optimism off it, we’ve got to remind ourselves that we’re more than capable of winning both matches.
"I’ve reminded the players this week that they have been very good at home this season.
"We’ve only lost to Chelsea and Aston Villa at the Stadium of Light and along the way we’ve got victories over the likes of Arsenal and Liverpool.
"On top of that, we’re also getting our best players back and that horrendous injury list is almost gone.
"We’ll have Lee Cattermole back for this weekend, John Mensah is available and Michael Turner and Craig Gordon are getting back to their very best after lay-offs.
"So we’ve got every reason to go into this Sunday’s game in a very positive frame of mind.
"I know it’s difficult because of the run we’ve been on but it shouldn’t overshadow some of the positives.
"And I’m not just talking about our good home form – we’ve only lost one game in four, we’ve only conceded four goals in our last four games, which includes last week’s game against Arsenal at the Emirates."