Football: Rioch has history on his side

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The Independent Online
NORWICH CITY have the unenviable task of a trip to the Stadium of Light today, but at least history is on their side. Bruce Rioch's First Division team have won on their last four visits to Wearside and the Carrow Road manager is relishing the prospect of today's match.

"It is a very big game. There will be over 40,000 people at the Stadium of Light," Rioch said. "It is the sort of place where players have got to be up for the game. The atmosphere will be tremendous. Defensively we have been doing really well recently with three clean sheets in our last four games. But we need to be more incisive in attack."

Sunderland's Niall Quinn will undergo a late fitness test on a calf strain. He is set to replace the injured Daniele Dichio. Norwich should be unchanged.

Bolton seek to end a run of one point from three games at Swindon. Colin Todd's team have suffered two successive defeats and have slipped to fourth in the table. They are unchanged today, while Swindon will be missing Iffy Onuora through suspension. George Ndah is likely to move into the front line and Mark Walters returns on the left side of midfield.

Bradford's pounds 1m signing from Oxford, Dean Windass, is set to make his debut against Port Vale. Gordon Watson (ankle) and Isiah Rankin (knee) are both doubtful. For Vale, Alan Lee, on a month's loan from Aston Villa, is likely to replace Martin Foyle, who has medial ligament damage. Dave Barnett and Allen Tankard return after suspension.

Birmingham, who face Portsmouth, will be without Darren Purse, who is recovering from a hip injury, so Gary Rowett will continue at the heart of the defence. Portsmouth's only change is likely to be the return of Alan McLoughlin after injury.

Ipswich entertain Tranmere without Kieron Dyer, who will be out for at least six weeks with a broken leg. Tranmere have George Santos available after suspension.

The Sheffield United goalkeeper, Alan Kelly, is doubtful for the game against Watford after suffering a groin injury. Simon Tracey stands by. Graham Stuart has a knee injury and is also unlikely to play. The Watford captain, Robert Page, is serving a one-match ban and his place will be taken by Colin Pluck or Darren Ward. Gifton Noel-Williams is still sidelined by a cracked thigh bone.

The Queen's Park Rangers defender Danny Maddix is likely to miss the visit of Wolves after having surgery on a hand injury.