Sunderland v West Bromwich Albion

1 Apr

Sunderland's Lee Cattermole and West Brom's James McClean


Sunderland players confront West Brom’s James McClean after the Baggies’ 1-0 win in October

BBC coverage

How to follow:
Listen on BBC Radio 5 live and BBC local radio; text commentary on the BBC Sport website

TEAM NEWS

Younes Kaboul could play despite being forced off in Sunderland’s last game with a calf injury, while Billy Jones should also be fit.

Lamine Kone and Wahbi Khazri, who both withdrew from international duty with minor problems, are available, with Duncan Watmore the only absentee.

West Brom have no new injury concerns ahead of Saturday’s game.

Callum McManaman has returned to training but lack fitness, while James Morrison remains out.

MOTD COMMENTATOR’S NOTES

Guy Mowbray: “They’re not intending to, but mid-table, safe as houses West Brom are playing a big part in the scrap to stay up.

“The Baggies’ only two defeats in their last eight league games have been 1-0 to Norwich and Newcastle, and with it looking like two from three joining Aston Villa down the ladder (notwithstanding Crystal Palace making it look more like a greasy pole!), it is imperative that Sunderland beat them too.

“I wince when I hear those involved say ‘must-win’ in case it doesn’t happen, but Jack Rodwell went there this week – incredibly having never been on a winning side in the 25 league games he’s started for Sunderland.

“Sunderland to triumph 1-0 with a Rodwell winner, anyone?”.

Twitter: @Guymowbray

WHAT THE MANAGERS SAY

Sunderland manager Sam Allardyce: “It’s been very disappointing for me that the players have not achieved the clean sheets that they should have done.

“Perhaps we’re not mentioning it quite as much because you can get paranoid about it.

“But we worked on defending correctly again on the training ground so I hope we get enough clean sheets in the last eight games to help us achieve the wins that we need.

“We can certainly score a goal, but the way we’re playing at the moment, it’s two minimum to win a game.”

West Brom head coach Tony Pulis: “If we can get to that magic 40 points as quick as possible, we can then push on from there.

“Every place in this league is more money. The players have that pride to finish as high as possible too.

“Sunderland will be fighting for their lives in their remaining games, so we will have to be aware of that on Saturday”.

LAWRO’S PREDICTION

Sunderland have taken the lead in their last three games but only picked up three points.

If they go ahead again this weekend, I don’t see West Brom lying down either, especially after losing at home to Norwich in their last game.

Prediction: 1-1

Lawro’s full predictions v indie band James.

  • Think you can do better than Lawro? Predict the score for this match and the rest of this round’s Premier League fixtures in our Predictor game.
West Brom's Darren Fletcher<!–

MATCH FACTS

Head-to-head

  • Sunderland have won only one of their last 12 matches against West Brom, losing eight of those games.
  • The Baggies have kept clean sheets in the last two meetings but they have failed to score in their last two games at the Stadium of Light.
  • West Brom have claimed nine Premier League wins against Sunderland – more than against any other opponent.

Sunderland

  • The Black Cats have drawn their last three league games. The last time they shared the points in four consecutive top-flight matches was at the start of the 2012-13 season.
  • Jermain Defoe’s tally of 12 Premier League goals is his best in a season since ending the 2009-10 campaign with 18 for Tottenham.
  • Only three of Defoe’s 12 goals this term have been scored at home.

West Bromwich Albion

  • The Baggies have won just one of their last nine Premier League away games (D4, L4).
  • Saido Berahino has scored three goals in his last three Premier League appearances against the Black Cats.
  • Salomon Rondon has scored in four of his last six Premier League starts for West Brom.

SAM (Sports Analytics Machine) is a super-computer created by Professor Ian McHale at the University of Salford that is used to predict the outcome of football matches.

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