Date: 12th December 2015 at 8:07am
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After a week outside the bottom three, Sunderland find themselves back inside the drop zone as they welcome a Watford side who have impressed this season and occupy a top half spot.

The Black Cats are hoping to avoid an unwanted hat-trick of defeats against newly-promoted clubs, having already lost to Bournemouth and Norwich this season.

Last weekend’s defeat at Arsenal ended a run of consecutive Sunderland victories, but their defence has certainly tightened up since Sam Allardyce’s arrival; they have conceded just once in their last three games at the Stadium of Light.

The last clash between these two sides was back in 1999, when Kevin Phillips scored twice in a 3-2 Sunderland win. The Englishman went on to claim the Golden Boot that season with 30 goals.

Watford travel north looking for a third consecutive win – a feat they have never achieved in the Premier League – having seen off Aston Villa and Norwich in the past fortnight.

Striker Odion Ighalo scored again last weekend to take his season’s tally to nine; no player in the top four leagues has scored more than the Nigerian’s 25 goals in 2015.

Whilst Jamie Vardy has been claiming all the headlines, fellow English striker Troy Deeney is quietly putting together an impressive run of his own; the frontman has scored in each of his last four matches.

Team News

Midfield duo Lee Cattermole and Sebastian Larsson will miss the match for the hosts, but Wes Brown and Jermain Defoe are both available. Steven Fletcher faces a fitness test on his foot injury.

Watford will be without Valon Behrami for their trip to the Stadium of Light, and tomorrow’s game is also likely to come too soon for defender Sebastian Prodl.

League Position: Sunderland – 19th (12pts); Watford – 10th (22pts)
Last Meeting:
Sunderland 4-2 Watford (February 12, 2005)
Form: Sunderland – WLLWWL; Watford – WWLLWW
Key Men: Sunderland – Jeremain Lens; Watford – Troy Deeney
Shoot Says: Sunderland 1-1 Watford

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