West Ham keeper Darren Randolph has warned his defenders to keep a tight rein on Sunderland dangerman Jermain Defoe at the Stadium of Light tomorrow.
Defoe, like the Black Cats as a whole, has not scored since the 4-0 win at Crystal Palace on February 4, but Randolph is wary of the 34-year-old.
He said: “He’s a dangerous and clinical finisher, as he’s proved throughout his whole career.
“Any half-chance, he will take it, so that’s obviously what Sunderland look for.
“We obviously need to limit his space and chances.
“Sunderland will score eventually and it’s just a matter of when. Personally, I don’t care if they score on Saturday as long as we win, as that’s all that matters.
“If we can go there and put them under pressure and frustrate them and try to get ourselves ahead in the game, then clearly it will make it a lot easier for us.
“But they are scrapping for their own survival and it’s a home game for them, and they’re not looking at us as a Chelsea or a Tottenham or a Man United or Man City, but as a West Ham who are only a few places above them, so they might play with a bit more freedom than usual.
“Regardless, we’ll go there our own gameplan and try to execute that as best we can and get three points.”
Randolph comes north on the back of a shut-out in last week’s much-needed 1-0 win over Swansea, which lifted the Londoners eight points clear of the third-bottom Swans.
“It was our first clean sheet since Palace and it’s nice for everybody, not just me as the goalkeeper, because it means you have all put a shift in,” the Ireland keeper told whufc.com.
“It’s good to get that clean sheet and win along with it.