Sunderland must overcome a miserable record at The Hawthorns if they are to get anything from Sam Allardyce’s first match in charge against West Brom.
West Brom boss Tony Pulis has concerns over four key players as he prepares his team for Sunderland’s visit to The Hawthorns.
Jonny Evans, James Morrison, Saido Berahino and Salomon Rondon are all doubts, with the quartet each rated a 50-50 chance to be fit for Saturday’s return to Barclays Premier League action.
Evans is still struggling with the groin strain he suffered against Crystal Palace prior to the international break while Morrison has an ankle injury and Berahino has picked up a knock in training. Rondon did not arrive back in England until late this week after featuring in Venezuela’s two World Cup qualifying games.
Sunderland boss Sam Allardyce will be without suspended duo Jeremain Lens and Sebastian Coates for his first game in charge.
Midfielder Lens was sent off for two bookable offences and defender Coates collected his fifth caution of the season in the 2-2 Barclays Premier League draw with West Ham before the international break, and both will serve one-match bans.
However, Allardyce is likely to have defenders Younes Kaboul (knee) and Adam Matthews (ankle), and midfielders Yann M’Vila (hamstring) and Ola Toivonen (groin) available.
- The Baggies have won five and lost none of their last six home league meetings with Sunderland.
- The Black Cats have failed to score in four of their last six trips to the Hawthorns.
- In their last 15 home league games, West Brom have kept eight clean sheets but conceded three or more goals in the other seven.
- West Brom are the only side yet to score in the first half an hour this season and are also the only side yet to net in the final 30 minutes.
- The Black Cats have had fewer shots on target than any other PL side this term (23).
- Tony Pulis has not gone five Premier League home games without a win since a run of five draws at Stoke between April and September 2012. He has never gone five without one within the same top-flight campaign.
- West Brom have not won any of their last nine league games in the month of October (D4 L5).
- Only twice in their top-flight history have Sunderland gone nine games from the start of a season without a win (10 in both 1969/70 and 1976/77).
- Darren Fletcher has not missed a minute of Premier League football since making his debut for the Baggies in February (2070 minutes).
- The last three permanent Sunderland managers have all started with an away defeat.