Gary Rowell: Sunderland will come up against one of the best at West Brom
Sunderland play their third game in a week when they go to eighth-placed West Bromwich Albion on Saturday.
We’ve had some really bad days at the Hawthorns over the years - it’s never an easy place to go to get a result.
And with just one away victory all season, the Baggies will go into it as favourites. It’s not that West Brom squad is packed with stars it’s more the fact they have a man in Tony Pulis who gets the very best and squeezes the last drop out of his group of players.
Pulis is the most important individual at that club - I think he is massively underrated and he’s been doing it for years, first at Stoke then Crystal Palace and now West Brom.
Would Pep Guardiola or Jurgen Klopp, or any of the super managers, get the Baggies any higher than the Welshman has?
I seriously doubt it. According to the purists, Tony’s teams don’t play the right way, whatever that means.
So Sunderland will know what they are up against on Saturday, a team that is organised, hard-working and a danger from set-pieces and if there are any weak links in the Sunderland team they will be exploited.
Two players who know the Hawthorns well are Victor Anichebe and Billy Jones and if they are fit I’d start them both as they’ll have a point to prove and won’t lack motivation.
Another sell-out away following will be there to support Sunderland which is amazing all things considered.
But after the Stoke debacle they will not be in any mood to accept anything less than total commitment and effort.
But if they see the players giving it everything, they’ll back them all the way.