THE FRIENDLY rivalry between Norwich City and Sunderland stretches back to when the two clubs met in the Milk Cup Final of 1985… yet all niceties will be put on hold for Sunday’s crucial Barclays Premier League clash at the Stadium of Light.
City won 1-0 on that day, and a similar result in this weekend’s televised encounter will see Chris Hughton’s men edge ever closer to the recognised mark of Premier League survival – 40 points.
Sunderland, on the other hand, will view this fixture as key what with daunting fixtures against Manchester United and Chelsea immediately following. A win would see them climb above the Canaries on goal difference.
Anthony Pilkington is likely to miss out for City after pulling up with a hamstring injury in the first-half against Southampton last weekend.
The other absentees will be Andrew Surman (knee), Alexander Tettey (knee), John Ruddy
(thigh) and Leon Barnett, who completed a one-month loan move to Championship league leaders Cardiff City late on Thursday.
Sunderland are poised to welcome back Danny Rose to the first eleven after the left-back came off the bench in last Saturday’s defeat at Queens Park Rangers, with Jack Colback likely to miss out.
Connor Wickham was recalled from his loan spell at Sheffield Wednesday in the week but is unlikely to displace either Steven Fletcher or Danny Graham in the starting line-up, but James McClean (ankle) could return.
Lee Cattermole and Wes Brown (both knee) will definitely not feature.
LAST TIME AROUND… NORWICH CITY 2-1 SUNDERLAND 02/12/2012 – Premier League
The Canaries gained their fourth home win in a row when they edged out Sunderland 2-1 at Carrow Road in their televised meeting at the beginning of December.
City had raced into a two-goal lead through Anthony Pilkington and Sebastian Bassong, although Craig Gardner’s strike just before half-time gave Martin O’Neill’s men a route back into the match.
They pressed in much of the second-half but Norwich held on for a win that lifted them up to 12th position in the Barclays Premier League.
“I thought we were excellent in the first half and it is difficult to sustain that over 90 minutes,” said Hughton after the final whistle.
“It was a real tough shift in that second half so testament to the players, there were saves that needed to be made and bodies that needed to be in front of some balls and they did that.”
MOST RECENT MEETINGS…
NORWICH CITY 2-1 Sunderland 02/12/2012 – Premier League
Sunderland 3-0 NORWICH CITY 01/02/2012 – Premier League
NORWICH CITY 2-1 Sunderland 26/09/2011 – Premier League
NORWICH CITY 1-4 Sunderland 24/08/2009 – League Cup
Sunderland 1-0 NORWICH CITY 02/12/2006 – Championship
FACTS & STATS…
- Sunday’s game will be the fifth consecutive match between Sunderland and Norwich City that will have been broadcast live on television.
- The away team has only won once in the last 11 league meetings between the two sides – that was when the Canaries snatched victory in August 1997. Daryl Sutch scored the winner 15 minutes from time. That remains the last goal City have scored at the Stadium of Light.
- Martin O’Neill’s side won this fixture 3-0 last season, with current Canary Michael Turner playing the full 90 minutes for the home team.
- Other players to have played for both Sunderland and Norwich City include Chris Brown, Geoff Butler, Dickson Etuhu and Shaun Elliott.
- Almost 50 years ago to the day, on March 20 1963, Sunderland thrashed Norwich City 7-1.
D – 0-0 v Southampton (H) 09/03/2013 – Premier League
L – 0-4 v Manchester United (A) 02/03/2013 – Premier League
W – 2-1 v Everton (H) 23/02/2013 – Premier League
D – 0-0 v Fulham (H) 09/02/2013 – Premier League
D – 0-0 v Queens Park Rangers (A) 02/02/2013 - Premier League
BLACK CATS FORM…
L – 1-3 v Queens Park Rangers (A) 09/03/2013 – Premier League
D – 2-2 v Fulham (H) 02/03/2013 – Premier League
L – 1-2 v West Bromwich Albion (A) 23/02/2013 – Premier League
L – 0-1 v Arsenal (H) 09/02/2013 – Premier League
L – 1-2 v Reading (A) 02/02/2013 – Premier League
LAST NORWICH CITY XI (4-4-2 v Southampton)…
Mark Bunn; Russell Martin, Sebastien Bassong, Michael Turner, Javier Garrido; Robert Snodgrass, Bradley Johnson, Jonathan Howson, Anthony Pilkington; Kei Kamara, Grant Holt (c).
LAST SUNDERLAND XI (4-4-2 v Queens Park Rangers)…
Simon Mignolet; Craig Gardner, Titus Bramble, John O’Shea (c), Jack Colback; Stéphane Sessegnon, Sebastian Larsson, Alfred N’Diaye, Adam Johnson; Steven Fletcher, Danny Graham.
REFEREE – CHRIS FOY…
Merseyside official Foy has refereed two Norwich City games so far this season… and both ended up as goalless draws.
He was in charge when the Canaries were held by West Ham United at Carrow Road in September, and he also refereed the stalemate away at Reading in November.
Foy made the headlines in January when he dismissed Chelsea’s Eden Hazard after he appeared to kick a ballboy in a League Cup match against Swansea City.
That has been his only red card so far this season, with him dishing out 51 yellow cards.