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David Thompson 3rd Dec 2011 - 18:32

Will Martin still be a fan after Black Cats turn out at Molineux?


Wolverhampton Wanderers v Sunderland

16:00 - live on Sky Sports 1

The Black Cats travel to Molineux with the intention of impressing their new manager and Sunderland fan Martin O'Neill. The former Aston Villa boss has been without a job since August 2010 but has been signed on a three-year deal to succeed Steve Bruce. Officially he begins work on Monday and will take the opportunity to oversee the current crop of players from the stands on Sunday.

O'Neill has had success wherever he has worked and of the available managers he appears to be a perfect fit for a Sunderland side that in the recent past was going places. Winning two league cups with Leicester and three SPL titles with Celtic are great achievements but it will be the consistency that he demonstrated with Villa in the Premier League that will excite Black Cats fans.

Sunderland currently sit 16th in the Barclay's Premier League table on 11 points. They have only recorded two victories in their thirteen league games and that will concern the manager considering that Steve Bruce is a highly respected Premier League boss.

Sunderland don't have time to rebuild, they currently sit just one point above the relegation zone and after losing a six-pointer to Wigan last weekend they find themselves in another with Mick McCarthy's side. Wolves are one place below Sunderland and also sit on eleven points. After a 3-0 defeat at Stamford Bridge they will be keen to take full advantage of the disruption at the Stadium of Light. The positives for the Wanderers are the return of four key players. Jamie O'Hara and Stephen Hunt return after suspension as well as striker Kevin Doyle and defender Richard Stearman returning from injuries.

In contrast caretaker manager Eric Black has little to work with. Titus Bramble and Frazier Campbell remained sidelined and there is a bigger problem in goal with both first choice Craig Gordon and Simon Mignolet out injured.

With Steve Bruce out of the picture the focus now turns to Mick McCarthy. Five points from eleven games has quickly dampened what was a promising start to the season and what with Wolves planning for an expansion to the Molineux Stadium staying in the Premier League is a must for the former Sunderland manager.

Therefore what on paper could be considered anything but a Super Sunday, has turned out to have a lot riding on it. Wolves go into the game at odds of 11/8 and that's where my money would feel safest in this one. In honor of Wolves coming from behind to win in their last two home matches, we will also be offering a Match Winner Special: Either team to take the lead but end up losing the match @ 6/1 enhanced from 4/1. Sylvan Ebanks-Blake scored in the corresponding fixture last season and I would look to him at 15/8 for anytime scorer.



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