With Kevin Nolan banned, Stewart Downing facing a lengthy spell on the sidelines and Andy Carroll still not ready to return, the Black Cats will be coming up against a depleted Hammers side at Upton Park tomorrow.
Poyet admits it represents a great opportunity for Sunderland to pick up their first away win of the season and close the gap on their fellow strugglers.
But he insists that for a side with just two league wins so far, West Ham will still provide a tough test.
He said: “On paper, it will be better for us just as if you play Barcelona, it is better if Messi doesn’t play or if you are playing Real Madrid, you chances look better without Ronaldo in their side.
“But it is what happens out on the pitch that matters, not the teamsheet.
“Sam Allardyce will still pick a side of Premier League players and those who come in will be giving 100 per cent to stay in the side so it won’t be easy.”
After beating Manchester City, the Black Cats have managed just a point from four games and are five points adrift at the foot of the table.
Poyet is looking for a maximum return from this weekend and next Saturday’s home game against Norwich.
“They are must-win,” he added. “We have to be man enough to accept we are in a really bad situation.
“So we cannot allow it to continue for much longer.
“We need to string a few results together.”