West Bromwich Albion will look to continue their revival under Roy Hodgson when they travel to Sunderland on Saturday in the English Premier League.
Since Hodgson took over, the Baggies are unbeaten in five and have risen to 13th after a 2-1 win against their manager’s former club Liverpool at The Hawthorns on Saturday.
West Brom are now four points above the relegation zone and can do themselves plenty of good in the battle for Premier League survival if they can pick up a result at terribly out-of-form Sunderland.
But the Midlands outfit are not getting carried away and know the job is far from done, with defender Nicky Shorey insisting that all his team-mates needed to do is worry about their own results.
“You just have to concentrate on yourselves,” Shorey said.
“Sometimes you check on other people’s results – but in the end you just need to take care of your own. We have got a tough run-in but at the moment anyone you play is going to be a tough game. We just have to concentrate on the next one.”
“We’re going into every game with confidence. Roy just wants us to get the points we need – and that’s enough satisfaction for him. He keeps us grounded.”
With 40 points traditionally enough to avoid relegation, three points for Hodgson’s men would take them within one point of the magical mark.
And they have every chance of claiming an away win that would have seemed unlikely months ago, with Sunderland having won just one of their last 10 matches in all competitions and losing six of their last seven outings.
The Black Cats have dropped to 12th on the table and out of the top half, and manager Steve Bruce admitted he is baffled over his side’s recent bout of poor form.
“I couldn’t have imagined a couple of months ago just how difficult it would be to reach 40 points,” Bruce said.
“However, we are where we are and we have still got six weeks of the season to go and a lot left to play for. We have still got work to do. We are sitting in 12th position and if I am honest, yes, looking over our shoulders.”
“We are having our worst spell of the season right now and we have to overcome it.”
Injuries to the likes of Titus Bramble and Fraizer Campbell have hurt Sunderland, but Bruce is hopeful that Kieran Richardson will return from a hamstring injury to play against a side he helped avoid relegation when on loan in season 2005/06.
West Brom have their own injury concerns, with Graham Dorrans likely to miss the match. But the majority of the side who defeated Sunderland 1-0 back in August at The Hawthorns will play and Hodgson’s men will fancy their chances of victory.
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