Sunderland are looking to build on their morale-boosting victory at Fulham last week with the visit of one of the league’s most in-form sides in Steve Clarke’s West Bromwich Albion. The Baggies currently sit in a lofty fourth position following their home win over Chelsea last week, which ironically turned out to be former manager Roberto Di Matteo’s last in charge of Chelsea.
The Black Cats have struggled for goals in front of their home crowd all season and Martin O’Neill has the luxury of calling upon a near-fully fit squad for the clash with WBA, with only defender Wes Brown a long-term absentee. Elsewhere, Craig Gardner may return at right-back after being suspended for the win at Fulham, although he faces competition for his place from Phil Bardsley, while Sebastien Larsson could make the 150th Premier League appearance of his career, one that has seen him play for Arsenal, Birmingham and Sunderland.
The visitors will once again be without Ben Foster, who misses a third consecutive fixture with a groin problem. However, Boaz Myhill’s form in the victory over Chelsea seemed to outline a more than able deputy. Elsewhere, Steve Clarke has been hit by the news that crucial midfielder Youssouf Mulumbu misses out with a hamstring problem, although he will be heartened that Gareth McAuley has overcome his own hamstring issue to take his place in the side. However, Steven Reid remains no nearer to a return.