Clash with Fulham is the first of many difficult games Sunderland must start winning

Chris Coleman manager of Sunderland during the Sky Bet Championship match between Sunderland and Reading at Stadium of Light on December 2, 2017 in Sunderland, England.

Sunderland may not be favourites this weekend, but that can no longer be an excuse as their relegation battle drags on.

Sunderland fans look dejected during the Barclays Premier League match between Sunderland and Tottenham Hotspur at the Stadium of Light on September 13, 2015 in Sunderland, United Kingdom.

Sunderland welcome Fulham on Saturday knowing that failure to win would mean they pass a year without a home victory.

And Chris Coleman's side certainly will not have it all their own way against a talented visiting outfit who have regularly enjoyed themselves on their travels.

Indeed, since Sunderland saw off Watford at the Stadium of Light last December, Fulham have seen off 14 opponents away from home - including the scalps of Newcastle United, Huddersfield Town and Sheffield United.

Denis Odoi of Fulham celebrates scoring his teams second goal with teammates during the Carabao Cup First Round match between Wycombe Wanderers and Fulham at Adams Park on August 8, 2017...

Therefore it is perhaps no surprise that Fulham are favourites to take all three points this weekend.

But such has been Sunderland's plight this term that they must now start to win matches in which they are given little chance of succeeding.

With 25 games remaining this season, the Black Cats must make up 36 points to the tally of 51 that Nottingham Forest required to scrape to survival last term.

Chris Coleman manager of Sunderland reacts during the Sky Bet Championship match between Sunderland and Reading at Stadium of Light on December 2, 2017 in Sunderland, England.

And so there are not enough fixtures left against relegation rivals for Sunderland to write off games such as this one on Saturday.

It will not be easy for Coleman's men, but their revival must start soon if they are to stay up - and ending a wretched home run would be a good way to kick it off.

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