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Poyet keen to cap Sunderland’s fantastic run by beating Baggies

Operation survival is almost complete. Picking up three points against West Bromwich Albion will preserve Sunderland’s Premier League status for another year. In just four games, their season has been turned on its head.

Narrow victories away to Chelsea and Manchester United, with a crushing defeat of Cardiff sandwiched in between, as well as a hard fought draw away at Manchester City has seen them almost pull off the impossible. In their penultimate match at home against West Brom they are unsurprisingly 6/5 favourites, even though the Baggies are one place and a point ahead of them in the table.

Manager Gus Poyet has transformed from looking like he’s having kittens, to the cat that got the cream. The team is playing for him, and he’s instilled a team spirit and belief that was noticeably absent under predecessor Paolo di Canio.

Poyet is expected to name an unchanged side, with long term absentees Steven Fletcher, Ki Sung-Yueng, and Carlos Cuellar still sidelined.

Full back Steven Reid is the only doubt for the West Midlands outfit, with a groin injury that saw him miss the defeat against Arsenal.

West Brom, like Sunderland are almost safe, though their form could not have been any different. They have picked up four points from 12, and the win at home to West Ham could prove crucial. A draw for both sides could seal Norwich’s fate, and the odds for both sides to play out a stalemate are available at 8/1.

Connor Wickham’s impressive form could see him promoted from Black Cat into Lion, and five goals plus an assist in his last four Premier League games has produced odds of 12/1 on him making the England World Cup squad. He is also 4/1 to hit the opener, which should only strengthen his case of booking a seat on the plane to Brazil.

Former Sunderland player Stephane Sessengon struck for West Brom in the reverse fixture in September, though he’s only managed three goals in 25 appearances since. He is 9/1 to open the scoring at the Stadium of Light, and 10/3 to notch at any time.

Despite the Northeast based club’s impressive recent record against the big clubs, they have the worst in the league against bottom half opposition. Their latest good run, could spur them on to change that in front of what is expected to be a capacity home crowd against the Baggies.