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Premier League: Everton v Sunderland
Apr 19, 2013 3:21 AM GMT
Everton visit Sunderland on Saturday in a bid to keep their push for Champions League football going strong.
After being held to a 0-0 draw by Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium on Tuesday, a berth in next season's Champions League is beginning to look improbable for David Moyes' team, but they are still in contention should any of the teams above them slip up.
Everton are in sixth place, five points behind Chelsea, who are third and occupy the last automatic qualification spot, four points off fourth-placed Arsenal and two back from Spurs in fifth.
Further complicating matters is the fact Chelsea and Spurs have a game in hand on Moyes' team.
Everton are unbeaten in their past six Premier League games, and make the trip to the Stadium of Light in a strong run of form.
Sunderland, meanwhile, also head into the match on a high after a stirring 3-0 win over Newcastle in the Tyne-Wear derby on Sunday, a result that gave new boss Paolo Di Canio his first win in charge of the club since taking over from the sacked Martin O'Neill.
Stephane Sessegnon, Adam Johnson and David Vaughan each scored spectacular goals for Sunderland, ending a nine-match run without a victory, as the club moved to 15th place, still just three points clear of the drop zone.
The last time the sides met, Everton posted a 2-1 win at Goodison Park last November.
Sunderland will be without Steven Fletcher (ankle) and Lee Cattermole (knee), with both ruled out for the rest of the season, but Wes Brown is nearing a return from a long-term knee problem.
Moyes also has a relatively clean bill of health heading into the match, with right-back Tony Hibbert in doubt with a calf injury, while midfielder Leon Osman is battling a groin issue.