Forget Norwich v Newcastle '“ Sunderland are ready to click (I hope)

My Wise Men Say colleague Gareth Barker was explaining to me how he didn't think there was a bad result for Sunderland in the game at Carrow Road this weekend '“ as long as Sunderland get a result in their game!

Friday, 1st April 2016, 3:00 pm
Tony Pulis

When you think about it, he’s right. A draw would mean much of a muchness as far as those two sides are concerned, while a win for the lads and Norwich would put Newcastle a couple of wins behind us both.

Making a three-horse race look more like a two-horse race can be no bad thing.

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If Newcastle win, we can leapfrog Norwich and get our noses in front of the little mini-league that we’re in.

Getting our own result is key though. And it’s easier said than done.

West Brom at home, in a game that looks the easiest of the lot on paper, almost always means a draw or defeat for Sunderland. I’ve not had us down winning this game for ages, actually, though my solid prediction that we’ll beat Leicester perhaps means you should pay little attention to me on the prediction front.

I guess the greatest fear in a game at home to any Tony Pulis side is the scenario that they score the first goal and then sit back and protect it.

This would present a different problem altogether for Sunderland than in recent weeks, as the psychological barrier that erects when we go in front continues to be our almighty downfall.

Every fan lives on “what ifs” – but the panicky way in which the whole side have retreated deep into their own half after taking the lead has directly cost us four points from our last two outings. It makes even more infuriating that, in both cases, this followed extremely competent performances.

You can look at it two ways. It’s either going to come back and bite us on the backside and we’ll get relegated because of it. Or, for those positive thinkers out there, it’s a clear sign of progression and there’s every chance it will all click into place soon enough.

If feels like we’ve clung on to the latter theory for years though and we could be doing our “clicking together” in The Championship.

It’s worth remembering that, whatever the result, nothing is cut and dry at this point and we can’t get too carried away or disheartened after the weekend. Watch back any of the Premier League

Years on Sky and see how much things change from mid-Easter, none more so than the 2013/14 season when the lads not only defied logic by staying up, but ended up finishing in 14th!

Wouldn’t it make for a good Saturday night though, if Sunderland could be very, well, un-Sunderland-like and bag themselves a very, very welcomed three points.