Sunderland will face a fired-up Fulham on Friday night

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Sunderland will definitely face a fired-up Fulham on Friday night.

The Londoners host the relegated Black Cats at Craven Cottage on Friday night, looking to avenge December’s 1-0 Stadium of Light reverse.

More importantly, they now have a real chance of clinching automatic promotion, after second-top Cardiff City’s 3-1 defeat at Derby County last night.

Neil Warnock’s Bluebirds would have gone four points ahead of Fulham. with just two games to play, had they beaten the Rams.

But their loss means that Fulham can go into second spot, even if only temporarily, by beating relegated Sunderland.

December’s 1-0 loss to Chris Coleman’s Wearsiders was the last league defeat inflicted on Slavisa Jokanovic’s men, who have since managed 17 wins and just five draws in a 22-match unbeaten charge up the Sky Bet Championship table.

If Fulham can win or draw on Friday then they will make it a full half-season undefeated in the league.

Former Wolves and Dundee midfielder Kevin McDonald, who scored a cracking goal in last Friday night’s impressive 3-0 derby triumph at Millwall, told fulhamfc.com: “There’s no hiding that we’ve had a fantastic run. On that run, we’ve had a couple of lucky games here and there, and that’s what you need.

“Everyone is pulling together in the right direction.

“It’s all about hard work in this league and the manager keeps on top of us every day, and fair play to him for keeping us going. It’s a long stretch and we’ve been consistently good for a while now.

“As long as win our games, that’s the main thing, we can’t do any more. If we get automatically promoted then fantastic, if not then we’ll be ready to go in the play-offs.

“We’ve had a lot of good performances, especially in this run we’ve been on, but, in that second half (against Millwall), I think we were a class above at times.

“First-half, they had a good few chances with the way they play, respect to them, but, once we got the ball down and passed it, we were worth our victory.”

McDonald hailed Jokanovic’s commitment to his style of football which has proven so fruitful of late.

“If you see the manager’s reactions on the side, he’s not happy when we bang the ball long!. He’s on at us every day to try and play, play, play.

“Even if they press us, he wants us to play the whole time. He’s drilled into us the way he wants us to play and we’ve followed it, and right now it’s working well.”