Bet365 (£200 Free bets) Latest Betting Odds: Sunderland 10/11, draw 13/5, Norwich 19/5
Ahead of taking his Norwich City side to Sunderland on Wednesday evening, Paul Lambert has spoken of his respect for Black Cats manager Martin O’Neill.
Canaries boss Lambert played for O’Neill during a very successful period for Celtic and the former Bhoys midfielder admitted in his pre-match press conference that he still refers to his old manager as ‘gaffer’.
This shows how highly Lambert rates O’Neill, while the Scotsman also revealed that he wasn’t at all surprised at the positive impact the former Leicester City manager has had at the Stadium of Light.
Since O’Neill succeed Steve Bruce, Sunderland have suffered just one defeat – a narrow 1-0 reverse at the hands of Tottenham – and have climbed into the top ten of the Premier League.
This means they are nine points above the bottom three when, before O’Neill arrived, fans of the club thought they had a relegation battle on their hands.
Norwich are doing extremely well themselves though, so this should be a fascinating encounter between two in-form teams. Lambert’s men will be full of confidence going into this fixture, no doubt about that.
The Canaries are actually unbeaten in 2012 and have won their last three away games in all competitions. This has helped them sit in 9th position, just six points behind 7th placed Liverpool.
Looking at the team news for this one, Sunderland have their fair share of injury problems with Nicklas Bendtner, Wes Brown, Lee Cattermole and David Vaughan all set to miss out.
They do have new loan signing Wayne Bridge to call upon though if needed with the Manchester City arriving for the rest of the season on transfer deadline day.
As for Norwich, they could bring some fresh legs into the starting line-up after mixing things up for the 2-1 win at West Brom in the FA Cup on Saturday. Joint leading-scorer Steve Morison is one of a few first-team regulars that could come back in.
Overall, this one is set up to be a fantastic Premier League encounter. Both teams will attack and it should be an open contest that could go either way.