Key Sunderland trio to miss Fulham clash

Sunderland manager Gus Poyet

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Sunderland look set to be without injured trio Adam Johnson, Wes Brown and Lee Cattermole for the FA Cup fourth-round clash with Fulham.

Black Cats boss Gus Poyet is expected to name a strong side for the game against the Championship side with recent signing Jermain Defoe certain to start.

However, Johnson is struggling with a calf problem while Brown has a knee injury and Cattermole continues to be sidelined with the groin and knee injuries he sustained in last month’ draw at Aston Villa. Liam Bridcutt is available again after serving his one-match suspension.

Meanwhile, Poyet looks set to persevere with the 3-5-2 formation he used in last weekend’s defeat at Tottenham, having used just one striker before Defoe’s arrival from Toronto FC.

First-team coach Charlie Oatway said: “Jermain needs help up there. He’s one of those players who likes to play off someone. He needs someone closer than two wingers.”

Sunderland, who are 1.60 to beat Fulham at the Stadium of Light, are just one point above the Premier League relegation zone following the loss at White Hart Lane but have a relatively easy run of fixtures coming up, as they host fellow strugglers Burnley, QPR and West Brom in three of their next four Premier League games.

Oatway said of those matches: “With the games coming up, we need to make sure we get some sort of stable side to go into those games. The Fulham game is a great chance to get a good result and get the ball rolling.”

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