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Zoltan Gera produces a cross, Nedum Onuoha manages to make a clearance.
Kieran Richardson produces a left-footed shot from just outside the box that misses to the right of the target.
Zoltan Gera takes the chance to get an effort at goal. John Mensah gets a block in.
Foul by Boudewijn Zenden on Zoltan Gera, free kick awarded. Danny Murphy takes the free kick.
Phillip Bardsley produces a cross, Asamoah Gyan takes a shot.
Corner taken right-footed by Jordan Henderson from the right by-line to the near post, Eddie Johnson makes a clearance.
Ahmed Elmohamady fouled by Andrew Johnson, the ref awards a free kick. Simon Mignolet takes the direct free kick.
The official flags Darren Bent offside. Indirect free kick taken by Mark Schwarzer.
Boudewijn Zenden fouled by Clinton Dempsey, the ref awards a free kick. Ahmed Elmohamady takes the free kick.
Long range shot by Boudewijn Zenden goes wide right of the net.
Kieran Richardson challenges Zoltan Gera unfairly and gives away a free kick. Zoltan Gera produces a strike on goal direct from the free kick, Simon Mignolet makes a save.
Kieran Richardson goes into the referee's book. Clinton Dempsey takes a shot. Blocked by Ahmed Elmohamady.
(Sunderland) makes a substitution, with Boudewijn Zenden coming on for Danny Welbeck.
(Fulham) makes a substitution, with Chris Baird coming on for Dickson Etuhu. Foul by John Pantsil on Kieran Richardson, free kick awarded. Phillip Bardsley produces a shot on goal direct from the free kick.
Danny Welbeck takes a shot. Aaron Hughes gets a block in.
Clinton Dempsey takes a shot. Comfortable save by Simon Mignolet.
The ball is crossed by John Pantsil, clearance by John Mensah.
Eddie Johnson fouled by John Mensah, the ref awards a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Danny Murphy.
Zoltan Gera delivers the ball, Eddie Johnson takes a shot. Save by Simon Mignolet.
Eddie Johnson joins the action as a substitute, replacing Carlos Salcido.
Outswinging corner taken right-footed by Simon Davies, save by Simon Mignolet.
Corner from the right by-line taken by Simon Davies, save by Simon Mignolet. Brede Hangeland takes a shot.
Outswinging corner taken right-footed by Simon Davies, Aaron Hughes takes a shot. Save by Simon Mignolet. Corner taken by Zoltan Gera. Kieran Richardson produces a cross, save by Simon Mignolet.
Zoltan Gera takes a shot. John Mensah gets a block in. Dickson Etuhu challenges Lee Cattermole unfairly and gives away a free kick. Simon Mignolet takes the free kick.
Lee Cattermole challenges Clinton Dempsey unfairly and gives away a free kick. Free kick taken by Danny Murphy.
The ball is sent over by Jordan Henderson, Brede Hangeland gets a block in. Effort on goal by Kieran Richardson from just inside the area clears the bar.
Clinton Dempsey takes a shot. Blocked by Nedum Onuoha.
Asamoah Gyan challenges Aaron Hughes unfairly and gives away a free kick. Brede Hangeland takes the direct free kick.
The assistant referee flags for offside against Andrew Johnson. Simon Mignolet restarts play with the free kick.
Simon Davies sends in a cross. A cross is delivered by Clinton Dempsey, Dickson Etuhu takes a shot. Clearance made by Phillip Bardsley.
Carlos Salcido crosses the ball.
Clinton Dempsey takes a shot. John Mensah gets a block in.
A cross is delivered by Ahmed Elmohamady, clearance by Clinton Dempsey.
Asamoah Gyan is brought on as a substitute for David Meyler.
Darren Bent sends in a cross, Aaron Hughes makes a clearance.
Unfair challenge on Andrew Johnson by John Mensah results in a free kick. Brede Hangeland takes the free kick.
Clinton Dempsey has an effort at goal from 18 yards. Simon Mignolet makes a fantastic save.
Ahmed Elmohamady delivers the ball, Mark Schwarzer makes a save.
Andrew Johnson is brought on as a substitute for Diomansy Kamara.
Clinton Dempsey challenges John Mensah unfairly and gives away a free kick. Direct free kick taken by John Mensah.
Free kick awarded for a foul by John Pantsil on Kieran Richardson. Kieran Richardson restarts play with the free kick.
Darren Bent is caught offside. Free kick taken by Mark Schwarzer.
The ball is sent over by Jordan Henderson, Danny Welbeck takes a shot. Blocked by Dickson Etuhu.
Danny Murphy gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on David Meyler. Direct free kick taken by John Mensah.
A cross is delivered by Phillip Bardsley, Header from close range by Darren Bent misses to the right of the goal.
The ball is swung over by Clinton Dempsey, save made by Simon Mignolet.
The ball is crossed by Carlos Salcido, clearance by Nedum Onuoha.
Shot by Carlos Salcido from 25 yards. Save by Simon Mignolet.
The ball is crossed by Zoltan Gera, clearance made by John Mensah.
The ball is crossed by Simon Davies, John Mensah manages to make a clearance.
The ball is sent over by Jordan Henderson, Danny Welbeck produces a right-footed shot from close in that clears the bar.
Lee Cattermole delivers the ball, John Pantsil manages to make a clearance.
Jordan Henderson delivers the ball, clearance made by Brede Hangeland. Jordan Henderson decides to take the corner short, Ahmed Elmohamady crosses the ball, clearance made by Brede Hangeland.
Free kick awarded for a foul by Dickson Etuhu on Kieran Richardson. Phillip Bardsley crosses the ball in from the free kick, save made by Mark Schwarzer.
John Mensah fouled by Clinton Dempsey, the ref awards a free kick. David Meyler takes the free kick.
Handball decision goes against Zoltan Gera. Simon Mignolet takes the free kick.
The ball is delivered by Carlos Salcido, John Mensah makes a clearance.
Diomansy Kamara delivers the ball, Nedum Onuoha manages to make a clearance.
Corner taken right-footed by Simon Davies from the right by-line to the near post, Phillip Bardsley manages to make a clearance.
Unfair challenge on Simon Davies by Phillip Bardsley results in a free kick. Mark Schwarzer restarts play with the free kick.
David Meyler sends in a cross, Headed effort from inside the area by Darren Bent misses to the left of the goal.
Diomansy Kamara challenges Nedum Onuoha unfairly and gives away a free kick. Free kick taken by Simon Mignolet.
Zoltan Gera challenges John Mensah unfairly and gives away a free kick. Simon Mignolet takes the free kick.
The referee blows for offside. Aaron Hughes takes the indirect free kick.
Clinton Dempsey challenges David Meyler unfairly and gives away a free kick. John Mensah takes the free kick.
Clinton Dempsey delivers the ball, Phillip Bardsley makes a clearance.
The offside flag is raised against Darren Bent. Mark Schwarzer restarts play with the free kick.
Corner taken by Jordan Henderson from the left by-line, Header from deep inside the area by Nedum Onuoha goes harmlessly over the crossbar.
Diomansy Kamara gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Lee Cattermole. Direct free kick taken by John Mensah.
Anton Ferdinand leaves the field to be replaced by Ahmed Elmohamady. The referee blows for offside against Darren Bent. Indirect free kick taken by Mark Schwarzer.
Clinton Dempsey has an effort at goal. Save made by Simon Mignolet.
Unfair challenge on Zoltan Gera by Anton Ferdinand results in a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Danny Murphy.
Unfair challenge on John Pantsil by Lee Cattermole results in a free kick. Danny Murphy restarts play with the free kick.
Jordan Henderson concedes a free kick for a foul on Zoltan Gera. The free kick is delivered right-footed by Danny Murphy from left wing, save by Simon Mignolet.
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Anton Ferdinand by Zoltan Gera. Anton Ferdinand takes the free kick.
The match begins.
It is the end of the first-half.
The second half begins.
The final whistle goes and the game is over.
Dempsey not for sale - Hughes
Fulham manager Mark Hughes is adamant top scorer Clint Dempsey will not be leaving the club in the January transfer window.
Dempsey has been linked with a #10million move to Liverpool, where he would be reunited with former Cottagers boss Roy Hodgson.
Wolfsburg manager Steve McClaren is also reported to be interested in the United States international.
However, Hughes has promised a blunt response if any enquiries are made.
"I'm sure there is interest in Clint. Most good players are mentioned at some point in time leading into a window," said the Fulham boss.
"There's been no contact from any clubs for Clint or any other player.
"Nor would we encourage it because Clint's very happy here, is enjoying his football and is having an impact for us.
"If there any enquires about Clint, they'll be getting short shrift."
Dempsey will be involved in the Barclays Premier League clash with Sunderland - a match Fulham must win if they are to begin climbing the table.
They are currently perched one place above the relegation zone and have not won in the league since October - a run spanning six games.
Mexico left-back Carlos Salcido returns after recovering from an ankle injury but Mousa Dembele is still out with a similar problem.
Asamoah Gyan and Craig Gordon have been declared as "slight doubts" by Sunderland manager Steve Bruce.
Striker Gyan has a toe injury and goalkeeper Gordon a hamstring problem, although Bruce is hopeful both will figure in the game at Craven Cottage.
Bruce, though, remains without a number of long-term injured, including Titus Bramble, Fraizer Campbell and Michael Turner, all with knee injuries.
Bruce is on a mission to eradicate his side's inconsistency after becoming fed up with them being tagged 'typical Sunderland'.
Black Cats boss Bruce's issues are understandable because despite Sunderland riding high in eighth position in the Barclays Premier League, they are yet to win two successive games this season.
Since a run of five consecutive draws over September and October, the last eight games highlight Sunderland's problem. Their form reads - won, lost, won, drew, won, drew, lost, won.
Another annoying factor for Bruce is that his side have defeated Manchester City and Chelsea, the latter a remarkable 3-0 triumph at Stamford Bridge, and drawn against Arsenal, Spurs, Manchester United and Liverpool.
Yet their three defeats this season have been at Wolves and against newly-promoted clubs West Brom and Newcastle, the latter a particularly hurtful 5-1 humiliation at St James' Park.
"I don't think it's complacency. It's the mindset which is the hardest thing to deal with," said Bruce.
"Following the defeat to Wolves (3-2 a fortnight ago), on the TV and in the press it was 'typical Sunderland'.
"That is the one thing I have to eradicate. That is the hardest job on my plate, to take the club forward, to get rid of this 'typical Sunderland' tag where we win one, lose one.
"That is the challenge because to be a top club in this league, if we're going to succeed and go on to where we want to be, we have to eradicate the performances we put in against Wolves and West Brom.
"However, when I analyse the season, and we're halfway through near enough, two-and-a-half poor performances out of 16 is not bad.
"If we can repeat that for the next 16 games and go into spring with maybe 40, 43 points or so, then we'll be very happy.
"It means we'll be competing and likely in a position where we are now. That is the challenge - can we stay where we are? I've always said we want to try and be in the top 10.
"But I don't want this tag of ours any more."
Black Cats on the up
Sunderland climbed one place to sixth in the Barclays Premier League after drawing 0-0 with Fulham in a low-quality contest at Craven Cottage.
Neither side could complain with the outcome, though Fulham will be frustrated that a series of second-half chances were foiled by some resolute defending.
At one point in the second half Sunderland had a four-on-one overlap and a goal appeared certain, but an abysmal pass from Darren Bent ruined the moment.
It was a dismal spectacle that improved a little in a second half controlled by Fulham, with Clint Dempsey the focal point of their attack.
Responding to reported interest from Liverpool and Wolfsburg, manager Mark Hughes stated on Friday that Dempsey would not be sold in the transfer window next month and the USA attacking midfielder showed why the Welshman is determined to keep him, proving a constant thorn in Sunderland's side.
Fulham barely mustered an alternative threat, however, and are struggling in the final third with Bobby Zamora and Moussa Dembele injured.
Hovering above the relegation zone, they looked short on confidence and desperately need a win to kickstart their climb up the table.
The match started at a brisk pace with a swinging arm from Lee Cattermole on John Pantsil provoking a furious response from home fans.
Dempsey tested Simon Mignolet with a goalbound looping volley before defender Anton Ferdinand limped off in the 10th minute, replaced by Ahmed Elmohamady.
Nedum Onuoha headed a corner over from an awkward angle but it was only a half chance.
Fulham were suffering from conceding possession far too easily in the final third, though both sides were struggling to build any rhythm amid a frantic opening 20 minutes.
The home defence dealt with a dangerous ball by Jordan Henderson, crowding out Bent and Danny Welbeck.
Fulham finally burst into life in the 27th minute when Zoltan Gera sent Diomansy Kamara into space only for the Senegal striker's final ball to be cleared by John Mensah.
Brede Hangeland produced a timely block on a cross, but the free ball sparked a penalty area scramble that was eventually cleared to safety.
The half was short on quality but Sunderland attacked with more conviction, Phil Bardsley setting up a half-chance for Bent who failed to keep his header on target after leaping high to outjump Hangeland.
Pantsil then got his body in the way to block an attempt by Bent, who on this occasion was teed up by Henderson.
Andrew Johnson replaced Kamara for the second half, an admission by manager Mark Hughes that Fulham desperately needed some inspiration.
But the Cottagers' next raid came not through Johnson but Dempsey, whose chip towards the top right corner was plucked from the air by Mignolet.
Fulham were attacking the second half with far greater vigor and they nearly crept ahead in the 56th minute, but Dempsey just failed to reach Carlos Salcido's brilliant cross.
It then took a cleared header from Bardsley, the last line of defence, to prevent the home side from taking the lead through Dickson Etuhu's goalbound effort.
All of Fulham's best moments were being provided by Dempsey, who saw another delicate shot stopped by the arm of Onuoha just outside the area.
Mignolet produced an excellent save after Johnson had pulled the trigger from point-blank range, but the Cottagers were almost hit on the break.
Sunderland rushed upfield with only Pantsil defending against four players but Bent's crucial ball to Asamoah Gyan was terrible.
Johnson teed up Dempsey but this time Cattermole made the crucial block.
Kieran Richardson then tugged on Dempsey's shirt to concede a free kick on the edge of the area, but Gera's delivery was tame.
Bolo Zenden sent a low drive narrowly wide of the right post from 30 yards and was then felled by a clearance from Pantsil before groggily rising to his feet.
Bent was flagged offside after being put one on one with Mark Schwarzer, but he missed anyway, summing up a poor match.
"Who will win the PL title this season - 2013/14?"
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