Albion awaits

Terry Wills looks forward to a return to Hawthorns action.

Thank goodness! It’s back to normal this week following a massive overdose of international football, which being frank I thought was a turn off.and I don’t just mean searching for the TV remote.

Media comments were unanimous relating to England winning all of their ten games. No doubt on paper it ‘proved’ that Roy Hodgson’s Buccaneers’ 100% win record spelt out a warning that they fear no one. If only that was true. There’ll be time to worry about the European Championship next year but judging by the performances I doubt if the players of Germany, Spain or France will be shaking in their multi-coloured boots realising they have to face our hopefuls.

But enough of that. On Saturday it’s back to Greed League action with the visit of Sunderland, complete with new manager; gum-chewing Sam Allardyce. Like Tony Pulis he prides himself on making his teams difficult to beat and if that means playing boring, negative football to get results then so be it.

Pulis himself is coming under pressure from Baggies supporters due to his seemingly set in stone philosophy that the most important thing is not to lose a game and as a consequence being ‘forced’ to stress that he’s committed to winning every game.Sunderland are marooned in bottom spot and recognised as being far the worst side in the division but that will count for nothing in their attempt to show Big Sam they are not as bad as their record suggests.

Due to the international break it’s uncertain just who will be available for selection but should Jonnie Evans and James Morrison not be fit, for me that will make gaining a vital win more difficult than envisaged. Stung by criticism from both fans and media I can’t help feel that we will see a more positive attacking Baggies display. Perhaps not for 90 minutes but nevertheless a significant improvement?

Of one thing I am confident. Media attention will be firmly focused on Allardyce before and after the game, eagerly anxious to hear his thought on the eventual result.

Based purely on the respective teams’ league position Albion have to be considered favourites but due to the background scenario this will be far from normal.

One sad forecast – the renowned Black Cats travelling army will outsing the disillusioned Baggies fans. Of late the atmosphere at the Hawthorns more resembles a library or museum. Agreed there hasn’t been much to stand up and cheer but here’s hoping a more positive display can turn this on its head and a return to what was once considered a permanent Hawthorns feature.