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    West Brom v Sunderland: Match Preview

    Sam Allardyce will look to inject his new Sunderland side with a sense of urgency and guide them to a first win of the season at West Brom. Sunderland are yet to win this season, their only victory coming in the Capital One Cup at lowly Exeter City. West Brom fans will also be looking for improvement as well after a positive start to the season has fizzled out with back to back defeats to Everton and Palace, and Tony Pulis knows a defeat here could drag his side down into the relegation scrap.


    Allardyce has returned much quicker than many of us expected, and he has not had much time to prepare for his return to the Premier League. He will be missing one of Sunderland's key players so far in Jermain Lens, the Dutchman will be serving a one match ban after two yellow cards against West Ham last time out. Sebastian Coates will also be missing after picking up five bookings so far this season, however Kaboul will be fit to return to fill the gap and Adam Matthews should be available after missing nearly two months with an ankle injury. Steven Fletcher will be pushing for a start after putting away four goals for Scotland over the international break.

    Fletcher scored his 2nd hattrick against Gibraltar in this campaign

    West Brom also have key players missing through injury. Jonny Evans is rated 50-50 after missing Northern Ireland's international action, as are James Morrison and Saido Berahino. Morrison and Berahino have sat out training this week with ankle and back injuries respectively. Saloman Rondon is struggling with match fitness after playing in both Venezuela's World Cup qualifiers during the break and is looking unlikely to start.

    Sunderland will be looking to shore up the worst defence in the division, having not kept a clean sheet so far this season. Big Sam has always organised defences well and will no doubt look to John O'Shea to be his defensive talisman and finally earn Sunderland a clean sheet. At the other end though there have also been struggles, with joint top scorer Jermain Lens out Allardyce must decide whether Defoe, Fletcher or Fabio Borini (yet to score since returning to the club) will start up top. That being said Sunderland will be looking to get this new era off to a positive start and avoid defeat, especially with a huge Tyne-Wear derby looming next week.

    West Brom will definitely look to take a win away from this tie, with six of their next seven games against teams in the Premier League's top 10. To do so, they will need to show much more ambition than they did against Crystal Palace when they were soundly beaten and did not look competitive. A positive for the Midlands club though is the form of Saido Berahino since he has returned to the side after his transfer saga, the young England striker has bagged two goals in two games since coming back.

    The statistics look pretty bleak for Sunderland though, their last three permanent managers have all started with away defeats, and West Brom are unbeaten at home to Sunderland in their last six games since a Sunderland win in March 2007. The Baggies are struggling at home so far though and are yet to win at home this season, with only Villa and Watford scoring fewer home goals. Don't expect goals in this one.

    Prediction

    Few are better at grinding out tough away results than Sam Allardyce, and the feel good factor from his appointment should stop the rot for Sunderland, I see this one finishing 1-1.

    You can get West Brom to win at 11/10
    You can get Sunderland to win at 11/4
    If you like my prediction you can get it at 9/2 (all bets through Skybet)


    By Darren Beck (@DarrenBeck13
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    Item Reviewed: West Brom v Sunderland: Match Preview Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Darren Beck
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