STEVEN Fletcher hopes he can return to haunt the Baggies tomorrow.
The former Wolves striker scored three goals in two games against bitter derby rivals West Brom last season to earn his place in Black Country derby folklore.
And he admits that he is relishing this weekend’s game and an opportunity to get Sunderland’s season going again.
“I’m sure I’ll get my usual warm reception!” smiled a striker Albion fans would have hoped to have seen the back of last season after Wolves’ relegation.
“I’ve got a good record against West Brom and I just hope it continues this weekend. I’ve got to say I’m looking forward to it.
“I enjoy the atmosphere in games where there’s an edge like derby games and I don’t mind a bit of stick from rival fans – I played for Hibs long enough and Hearts fans used to destroy me.
“But I enjoy it, to be honest.
“It’s a good part of the game and it doesn’t really matter what derby you’re talking about, they’re all really intense for the fans involved.
“As a player, you just try to let it bring the best out of you.
“Not only is this game big for me though, it is also big for us as a club because we’re just coming back from a break and we want a good result.”
For the rest of Sunderland’s team it will be something of a revenge mission after Albion came to the Stadium of Light in November and notched a 4-2 win.
The Baggies were going through a purple patch of form at the time, but they didn’t have to be at their very best on the day to beat Sunderland.
And the Black Cats will be hoping to mitigate that with an improved display at The Hawthorns tomorrow
“Albion have done very well this season,” conceded Fletcher.
“They’ve got a good side.
“They pass the ball well and keep it well and that was what was behind their success at our place.
“But this is a different game this weekend, a different time, and I’m really looking forward to it.
“We’ve all come back refreshed from the break and we just want to get our season going again.”