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Preview: Sunderland vs West Brom - Point Makes Prizes For Black Cats

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Sunderland welcome West Brom to the Stadium of Light this evening for a fixture from which a point would secure their Premier League status

Ross Kinnaird

Sunderland team news

There's an old adage in football, possibly only superseded by "It's a game of two halves" and that is you don't change a winning side. With absolutely nothing broke with Gus Poyet's current starting eleven that have been in quite remarkable form, I can't foresee any changes whatsoever.

Striker and all-round forgotten man Steven Fletcher has resumed light training but is still some way away from making any return to the side, indeed the Scot may well have played his last game for the side if truth be told.

West Brom team news

Pepe Mel has only one serious doubt ahead of tonight's rearranged fixture and that is over full-back Steven Reid. Joining Reid on the sidelines are forward Thievy Bifouma, defender Liam Ridgewell and midfielder Zoltan Gera. Billy Jones is expected to figure at right-back again.

Former Sunderland fan favourite Stephane Sessegnon is set to figure in tonight's penultimate game of the season, here's hoping he has one of those four poor games in five or six that we became accustomed too.

Predicted line-ups

Sunderland vs West Brom - Premier League - 7th May 2014 - Football tactics and formations

Key match-up: Lee Lee Lee Cattermole vs Youssouf Mulumbu

Here's a good old fashioned ding-dong in the middle of the park to whet the appetite. Mulumbu has been a standout player for The Baggies this year and is set to clash head-on with our own midfield general, Lee Cattermole. Expect blood, guts, thunder and probably a booking a piece.

Recent form: DWDLWL

Draw: West Brom 3 - 3 Cardiff

Win: Norwich 0 - 1 West Brom

Draw: West Brom 3 - 3 Tottenham

Loss: Manchester City 3 - 1 West Brom

Win: West Brom 1 - 0 West Ham

Loss: Arsenal 1 - 0 West Brom

Last time around: West Brom 3 - 0 Sunderland (21/09/13)

Sunderland were blown away at the Hawthornes in a game which will be remembered more for the fall out which it instigated rather than the ninety minutes itself which were nothing more than a routine home win in which Stephane Sessegnon surprised no-one and scored on his debut having made the switch between the two sides.

Following the fulltime whistle Paolo Di Canio took to the pitch to address the travelling fans in a bizarre showing of defiance. It was to be his last act as the Sunderland supremo as he was axed a couple of days later following thirteen tumultuous games in charge.

Referee: Lee Mason

The bald-headed man from Lancashire is set to take charge of tonight's fixture, his thirty-third of the campaign, a season which has seen one-hundred and nice yellow cards and five red.

Mason last took charge of a game involving the Black Cats just a few weeks ago as Gus Poyet's men were destroyed at White Hart Lane.

What the managers said

Gus Poyet gets all teary-eyed

What we have done in the last four games is unique, incredible.

A 'miracle' was the word I used a few weeks ago, and apparently every now and again it happens.

We knew after losing to Everton that realistically we needed to win four of our last six games. We thought we might win all three of our home games, but we also knew we would need a special result in our away games and that would be difficult.

Well, we managed to get three wins and a draw before our last two games at home, having gone away to Man City, Chelsea and Man United and got a result each time.

We needed something amazing to happen for us and it's amazing that we got it.

Now we are so close and, in front of our fans this week, I want us to finish the job.

Pepe Mel looks to the future

My ambition when I came here was to keep West Brom in the Premier League. I have achieved my maximum ambition. But now I have a different ambition

We've had a lot of hard work and we've had many obstacles to overcome.

To certify our safety with two games in hand means we have done very well.

Now I need to listen to what the chairman has to say. I want to know what he has in mind for the future of this club.

I also want you to understand that I'm an ambitious person and I want to be able to have the augments to take this club forward.

Permutations

With Cardiff and Fulham both now relegated and only one spot in the relegation zone remaining, Sunderland's task is a very simple one - one more point will do.

While this would not secure survival mathematically it would leave Norwich needing a miracle of biblical proportions to overturn a goal difference that is thirteen worse than Sunderland's.

A win of course would put our top-flight status beyond any mathematical doubt, so let's just do that, aye?

Roker Report Predicts

Sunderland have been in scintillating form of late; with a defence that looks steady, a midfield that is both breaking up the play and using the ball nicely when in possession and in Connor Wickham we have a striker that has hit white-hot form at just the right moment of the season.

I'm going to a 2-0 win the home side to ensure a calm, relaxing, dead-rubber of a game at the weekend... bliss.