Sunderland v Fulham: Jokanovic wary of big threats in Black Cats' side
Fulham boss Slavisa Jokanovic heads to the Stadium of Light wary of a Sunderland side seeking a first home win of 2017.
And he has pinpointed the potential danger of facing Lewis Grabban, Aiden McGeady and Callum McManaman.
The Black Cats last secured a victory on Wearside on December 17 last year, but Chris Coleman’s arrival as manager has boosted optimism that the barren run will finally end in tomorrow’s Sky Bet Championship clash (3pm kick-off).
Tomorrow, Fulham are the latest side to try to add to Sunderland’s home woes and manager Jokanovic said: “They desperately need the points.
“A big number of games are behind them now where they haven’t won at home.
“I expect they are going to be super-competitive in this game. The situation they’re in, they need three points.
“100% Sunderland are going to win Championship games at home, [but] I hope they are not going to do it against us. It will definitely be a tough game.
“They’ve got a new coach now, new staff, and they’re desperately waiting for a reaction. They are going to show something different, I expect they are going to show improvements.
“We need to focus on our job, try to dominate Sunderland. We’re going to find a competitive, organised team.
“They have quality players – McGeady, McManaman, Grabban, who is one of the top scorers in the Championship – and we have to take care.
“We must find our style, start well, be ready to press, and be clinical with our end product when we are in the opposite box.”
Coleman has only his second home game in charge of Sunderland, against a club he played for and managed.
Jokanovic added on fulhamfc.com: “He’s a fantastic manager. He got to the semi-finals of the European Championship (with Wales) ... he did a fantastic job with Fulham as a player and a coach.
“I don’t know him personally, but other people have a great opinion about him. What I hear is he’s a great man. What I know is he’s a very good coach.”
Meanwhile, the Cottagers’ Serbian manager reckons that Sunderland’s problems this term – in a first season outside the top flight since 2006-07 – prove just how difficult the Championship is.
“Sometimes this kind of situation happens, the Championship is a tough competition and it’s not easy for any club,” Jokanovic said.
“It’s a big name, recently relegated from the Premier League. Last season, Hull, Sunderland and Middlesbrough were relegated, and none of these teams are in the top two. It’s a big challenge for all the teams, and a big challenge for Sunderland too.”