Fulham vs Sunderland predictions: Black Cats can compete at Craven Cottage
- Fulham have failed to win four of their last five home FA Cup ties
- Sunderland are unbeaten in their last seven away games
- Recommended bet: Tie or Sunderland
Fulham face Championship opponents for the second time running when they host Sunderland in the FA Cup fourth round on Saturday afternoon.
Marco Silva overcame his former club Hull without needing to select Aleksandar Mitrovic in round three and will hope others can provide the firepower if his top scorer is unable to face the Black Cats.
The Serbian picked up a knock in Fulham's 1-0 home defeat to Tottenham on Monday night
Sunderland's trip to London comes six days after they reignited their promotion bid with a 2-0 win over North East rivals Middlesbrough.
Tony Mowbray's side are unbeaten in their last seven on the road and will not be as easy to eliminate as Hull were in the previous round.
Mitrovic required treatment on an ankle injury he sustained against Spurs and could be touch-and-go to feature on Saturday.
Silva confirmed it was the same ankle the Serbia international hurt prior to the World Cup when he spoke to the media and said it was too soon to say if Fulham's leading marksman would miss any matches.
Mitrovic was rested for the Cottagers' third-round assignment at Hull and that could have been the plan this weekend anyway with Carlos Vinicius set to start up front.
Manor Solomon could earn his first start for the club after a lively appearance off the bench against Spurs with Harry Wilson also hoping to get the nod on the wing and Willian due for a break.
For Sunderland, new midfield signing Pierre Ekwah is eligible to make his debut when the Black Cats travel to Craven Cottage.
He could link up with ex-West Ham Under-21s team-mate Aji Alese, who went off with cramp when he made an earlier-than-expected return from injury against Middlesbrough.
Ekwah would replace Corry Evans in the middle of Mowbray's 4-2-3-1 system after the Northern Ireland international was forced off in the early stages against Boro.
Lynden Gooch missed out last weekend with a suspected injury and his return date is currently unknown.
Centre-back Luke O'Nien serves the second of his three-game ban for the straight red card he received against Swansea with Danny Batth likely to continue alongside Daniel Ballard in the heart of the backline.
Fulham have won eight and draw four of their 17 Premier League matches that Mitrovic has started this season, yielding an average of 1.65 points per game, but they have won one and lost three of the four he missed (0.75 points per game).
Sunderland's Patrick Roberts was handed his league debut by Felix Magath when he came on as a substitute for Fulham in a 5-0 defeat to Manchester City, who signed him 14 months later, in March 2014.
Ross Stewart has been directly involved in 13 goals in 13 Championship appearances this season (10 goals, three assists), averaging a goal involvement every 80 minutes - the best ratio of anyone in the division to have played over 400 minutes.
Sunderland will be full of confidence after their victory in the Wear-Tees derby last weekend and could give Fulham a real fright down by the River Thames.
The Black Cats play an entertaining brand of football that involves getting their in-form playmakers into space to create opportunities for Stewart.
After hitting the back of the net in 10 straight games and multiple times in six of those, it is likely that Mowbray's men will trouble Fulham's defence.
Sunderland clean sheets are rare, so both teams could be on the scoresheet in this cup clash but the likely absence of Mitrovic also opens the door to a possible shock.
The Whites have not made it past the fourth round in any of the last six seasons and may be forced into at least a replay by their in-form visitors.