Malcolm Dawson writes…….our Who Are You feature this week is provided by Paddy Davitt who covers Norwich City games for the Eastern Daily Press and their related publications. (Read it here). Returning the favour Pete Sixsmith has responded to their own questionnaire about our forthcoming fixture. At the moment there’s nothing on their website (and apologies to EDP if I have pre-empted you) but I will insert a link as soon as I can. Meanwhile here are Pete’s answers to what I am guessing were the questions. Should I be wide of the mark, rest assured they will be amended as and when.
1. What are your thoughts on the season ahead?
My hopes were that we could actually have a season where we were “safe” by March and that we had a good run in one or both of the cups. Reality suggests that we will have another long and difficult season – but we are used to them.
2. Is Dick Advocaat the man to take Sunderland forward?
I was surprised that “The Little General” came back. He clearly felt a connection with the club, the city and the support and it is a tribute to all three that a man of such experience was so smitten. I was pleased because it meant continuity and after three managers in three seasons we desperately need some stability.
3. How do you feel about Sundeerland’s transfer dealings over the summer?
So far the incomings seem ok but hopefully there is more to come. We need a creative midfield player and a proven striker, both of whom will have to adapt to the Premier League immediately. Does that sound familiar to City fans? We also need to move on some of the poor signings from the O’Neill/Di Canio/ Poyet eras, but we are having little success with that so far. Fancy a Greek winger or a former Brighton midfielder?
4. Who might be the important players for you this season?
Jeremaine Lens is our biggest signing so far and he has a good pedigree – Dutch and Ukrainian title winner, current Netherlands international – and he is there to give us the pace that we desperately need. The others need to play at the top of their form whenever they play.
5. How important is Saturday’s game in the grand scheme of things?
A friend suggested that this was the first of many six pointers for both clubs. After the thumping at Leicester we need to win and win well. Need rather than will please note.
6. What are your thoughts on Norwich City’s prospect this campaign?
History dictates that the promoted clubs struggle and I would not be surprised to see that happen again this season. City have a young and innovative Head Coach and that may be a factor come the end of the season.
7. Who do you think will be relegated come May 2016?
Awful question. My heart says Newcastle United, Chelsea and Liverpool, the three Premier League clubs I dislike above all the others. My head says Bournemouth, Aston Villa and Watford. I would be delighted if the bottom three were as it is now – we are not in it.
8. Which members of the Norwich team do you think could cause you problems an Saturday?
Nathan Redmond because he has pace. After Mehrez and Vardy took us apart last Saturday, I would imagine that both Head Coaches will be focussed on pace and how to combat it or utilise it. Tettey played well against us last time and I have always liked Jerome. Hopefully van Wolfswinkel will convince Neil that he should play.
9. What are your memories of previous City v Sunderland encounters?
They go back a long way to a 1-1 FA Cup draw in 1968 and a balding winger called Bill Punton. I was at Carrow Road in 1977 when Bobby Kerr and Tony Towers equalised in the last five minutes to give us a great chance of stopping up (we went down). Wembley 1985 was a great weekend and Sheffield 1992 was a great day and result. I also remember you winning the Championship title at the Stadium of Light in 2004, although we did win 1-0 that night. Pleasant memories of a pleasant club. I had a good friend who was a City fan and who adopted Sunderland when he lived in the North East in the 70s and 80s so I have taken an interest in Norwich since then. He did a splendid rendition of “On The Ball City” after a few pints of Vaux Samson.
10. And your predicted scoreline?
Both sides made faltering starts but our need is greater than yours. 2-0 to Sunderland but I shan’t be putting the mortgage on it.
Peter Sixsmith has been supporting Sunderland AFC since moving to the North East as a bairn in the 1960s. He is also a passionate supporter of Shildon AFC, who are currently top of the Northern League having won their first two fixtures 5-0 and 8-0 and Leeds Rhinos Rugby League team. Pete blogs regularly for Salut! Sunderland and is much in demand by the local and national press despite not being a professional journalist. He appears regularly on Radio Newcastle’s “Total Sport – Fan’s Forum” and harbours ambitions to be an author of best selling New York based crime thrillers.