Preview: Sunderland Looking To Boss The Baggies

Matthew Lewis

It's time for our preview of this weekend's game, in which Sunderland host a dangerous looking West Bromwich Albion side looking to show the rest of the country that they are the real deal. Can Sunderland though, who won last time out against Fulham, continue good form? Here's everything you need ahead of the game.

Sunderland Team News

No real news on the injury front as Wes Brown remains a long-term absentee and Titus Bramble battles a niggling hip injury. Martin O'Neill did indicate that one or two were battling knocks during the week but chose not to name his walking wounded.

An unchanged side would not be a surprise, although Craig Gardner returns from suspension and will be pushing for a recall.

West Bromwich Albion Team News

Yousouff Mulumbu is expected to miss the game after suffering a hamstring injury in the win over Chelsea. The midfielder has been a key to both how they play and their form so far this season.

Gareth McAuley and Romelu Lukaku both return after missing the win against the Champions League winners - the former is fit again whilst Lukaku was ineligible to play against his parent club.

Ben Foster is also expected to miss out, with Boaz Myhill again deputising.

Predicted Lineups

Sunderland: Mignolet; Bardsley, Cuellar, O'Shea, Rose; Larsson, Cattermole, Colback, Johnson; Sessegnon; Fletcher

West Brom: Myhill; Jones, Olsson, McAuley, Ridgewell; Yacob, Gera; Morrison, Odemwingie, Dorrans; Long

Key Matchup: Lee Cattermole Vs Claudio Yacob

Having been missed during both injury and suspension this season, Cattermole's availability is almost paramount. Against a team that has been extremely organised throughout the early part of the season, Sunderland will need to match that in the early exchanges.

It will be the first game that Mulumbu misses this season, and just how that affects Yacob remains to be seen. The pair have been the heartbeat of West Brom so far, dictating the tempo in the middle of the park and screening a back four that has conceded just one less than ourselves. The Argentinean has impressed but is still very new to the Premier League, Cattermole must capitalise on any unfamiliarity on show as Yacob is partnered with someone different for the first time.

Recent Form: LLWWW

Loss: West Bromwich Albion 1-2 Manchester City (Long 67; Dzeko 80, 90+2)

Loss: Newcastle United 2-1 West Bromwich Albion 1 (Ba, Cisse 90+3; Lukaku 55)

Win: West Bromwich Albion 2-0 Southampton (Odemwingie 36, 60)

Win: Wigan Athletic 1-2 West Bromwich Albion (Kone 44; Morrison 31, Caldwell og 43)

Win: West Bromwich Albion 2-1 Chelsea (Long 10, Odemwingie 50; Hazard 39)

Last Time Around: Sunderland 2-2 West Bromwich Albion, 1/10/11

Sunderland came from 2-0 down to rescue a point in this fixture last season. The hosts found themselves behind after just four minutes when James Morrison scored and, one minute later, Shane Long had doubled the Baggies' advantage.

Nicklas Bendtner reduced the deficit midway through the first half, before Ahmed Elmohamady's first goal for the club quickly saw Sunderland level. But as chances followed, the Black Cats were unable to turn one point into three - extending West Brom's good run of form against the Wearsiders.

The Ref: Mike Dean

Dean has been involved in nine Premier League games so far this season, with his only red card coming in the game between Manchester United and Arsenal.

Saturday will be his first time officiating a Sunderland game this season. Last year he took charge of three Sunderland games, the most notable the Tyne-Wear derby in March where both Stephane Sessegnon and Lee Cattermole were sent off.

What The Managers Said

Martin O'Neill:

The Fulham game was a big confidence booster for us. Some of the players we've felt haven't reached their proper potential this season certainly showed what they were all about against Fulham.

There's talk of two quick home games in a row, but we're only thinking about one game at the moment, and that's the visit of West Brom tomorrow.

Steve Clarke:

It is a demanding week on the players and the squad will need to step forward and be counted this week.

The first thing is we've got a difficult game at Sunderland.

It's a big club, they are a team that have invested a bit of money in the summer to try and push themselves up the league.

It hasn't quite gone for them but they've shown signs in certain matches that they have the capability to be a very good team.

They've also had an imbalance of games with only four at home and seven away.

Roker Report Predicts

As their recent form suggests, West Brom will be a tough nut to crack. Their only defeats in the last six have come through injury time winners whilst proving capable of picking up points on their travels.

Both teams will head into the game confident; Sunderland's display at Craven Cottage against Fulham conveyed the attacking potential that had been billed with the arrivals of Steven Fletcher and Adam Johnson. Although Steve Clarke's men are less inclined to shun their defensive responsibilities in comparison to Fulham, a win is by no means out of the question. This time, a steady 1-0.

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