This weekend will see two of the key figures in this seasons relegation scrap go head to head live from Carrow Road. Despite the argument that any team from 12th (West Ham) down are involved in this season’s battle, both Gus Poyet and Chris Hughton will no doubt be telling their players the importance of this weekend’s clash.
Sunderland come into this week’s fixture unable to buy a goal let alone snatch three points, knowing this the Black Cats manger will not be welcoming the news that Steven Fletcher is unavailable for selection following an ankle injury picked up during the 0-0 draw with Palace last weekend. With Sunderland without a win in the league since the Tyneside derby in February, Poyet will be hoping that he can kick start his survival campaign by snatching three points from the beaks of the hungry Canaries. However after a heavy run of cup games, Sunderland will be aware that they have two games in hand on Norwich and have been handed a chance to gain some momentum ahead of matches that see them entertain Liverpool and West Ham.
Up three to 15sit Norwich. Chris Hughton will be fully aware that he needs to keep one eye looking over his shoulder at all times. The Canaries are flapping 4 points above the drop zone but crucially they have the second worst goal difference in the league (-24). Norwich, who have only picked up 4 points out of a possible 15, will be fully aware that they cannot continue to concede such an excessive amount of goals. Hughton will also be aware that after the arrival of Sunderland, Norwich will be facing Swansea, West Brom and then Fulham in a run of games that are all more than winnable for the side from Norfolk.
KICK-OFF: Saturday, 3pm
PREVIOUS THREE MEETINGS
21/12/13 – Sunderland 0 Norwich 0
17/03/13 – Sunderland 1 (Gardner, Pen) Norwich 1 (Hoolahan)
02/12/12 - Norwich 2 (Bassong, Pilkington) Sunderland 1 (Gardner)
The Black Cats have recovered just two points from losing positions this season, the joint-fewest in the top flight.
Craig Gardner scored in both matches last time the two sides met last season.
None of the last 12 league meetings between Norwich and Sunderland has ended as an away win (nine home wins and three draws).
Norwich are unbeaten in their last five Premier League home matches (W2 D3)
Norwich City: 2.2
TV: Highlights of this game can be seen on BBC1’s Match of the Day live from 10:30PM