Premier League: Allardyce to steer Sunderland to debut win at West Brom
Sam Barnard, Assistant Sports Editor | October 16, 2015
West Bromwich Albion v Sunderland
Saturday, October 17th
Kick-off: 15:00 BST
The Hawthorns, West Bromwich
Big Sam takes on huge task in bid to save Sunderland
This 3pm Premier League kick-off sees Sam Allardyce return to the helm of the club he once played for, as he takes his winless Sunderland to West Bromwich Albion.
In Allardyce’s one previous debut as a manager on the road, for Newcastle United, he led the Magpies to a 3-1 victory over his former side Bolton Wanderers. You can, therefore, back him to steer Sunderland to their first three points of the Premier League season at 3/1 with Coral, and 40/1 to do so by that same scoreline.
However, the former West Ham United boss will have to belie the Black Cats’ woeful form as well as their terrible recent record against the Baggies.
West Brom have lost just one of their last 11 meetings with Sunderland, winning seven of them, and are the 21/20 favourites to triumph once more.
A draw, as was the result in both head-to-heads last term, is priced at 23/10, and is all the more tempting given that Tony Pulis’ men haven’t won at home this top-flight campaign.
“Trying to get us back on a winning trail excites me,” Allardyce said ahead of the clash at The Hawthorns. “The challenge is a big one but I’m a big man and I like a challenge so I’m looking forward to getting my feet under the table, understanding everybody and how they work.”
Allardyce’s previous managerial debuts
Blackpool v Huddersfield – lost 4-1 (home)
Notts County v Rochdale – won 2-1 (home)
Bolton v Crewe – drew 2-2 (home)
Newcastle v Bolton – won 3-1 (away)
Blackburn v Stoke – won 3-0 (home)
West Ham v Cardiff – lost 1-0 (home)
On the recent 2-2 draw with West Ham, he added: “The encouraging thing was the performance. So if the players carry on that kind of performance then hopefully that is our ultimate goal, getting our first three points as quickly as possible.”
One man in particular that Allardyce will turn to in search of goals for this game is Scotland striker Steven Fletcher, who is fresh from a hat-trick and strike against Gibraltar and Poland respectively. Fletcher, who has scored two for his club this term, is 2/1 in the anytime market.
Jermain Defoe has been the one shining light for Sunderland, with five goals so far, but it remains to be seen if the diminutive frontman will be favoured by his new boss, who is perhaps renown for preferring tall attackers.
Will Big Sam opt for in-form Defoe?
Nevertheless, Defoe is also 2/1 to score anytime and 7/1 to strike last, while Sebastian Larsson, who netted in this fixture last term, is 11/2 in the former market.
For the hosts, Saido Berahino bagged a brace in that same match, and is even-money to add to his two goals this season, and a more enticing 5/1 for two or more again.
A win for Sunderland will not be enough to take them out of the relegation zone, but they would be able to close the gap to two points on 17th-placed West Brom.
Allardyce won’t be able to call upon suspended duo Jeremain Lens and Sebastian Coates, while Pulis will have to wait until the last minute to decide on his team, with Jonny Evans, James Morrison and Jonas Olsson all doubts.
View our West Brom archive
Our Sunderland articles are also available
Take a look at our Sam Allardyce content
Coral’s top tip: West Brom are without a win at home all season in the league, while Sunderland haven’t triumphed at all, so back a draw @ 23/10