SUNDERLAND FACE Martin O’Neill’s former employers and the only club he has ever walked away from on Sunday as they take on Norwich City.
O’Neill left the Canaries in 1995 after just five months at Carrow Road, admitting that he and chairman Robert Chase didn’t get on.
The Canaries, now under the stewardship of former Mags’ boss Chris Hughton, are flying presently.
Thirteenth in the Barclays Premier League table and currently enjoying a seven-match unbeaten run which has seen them topple both Manchester United and Arsenal in East Anglia.
After a slow start to their second campaign back in the top-flight which began with a 5-0 opening day humbling at Fulham, the Canaries look a solid outfit once more and have lost just once at home in six fixtures this term.
Sunderland have a diabolical record in Norfolk to boot, failing to win there in the league since 1985; winning at the Canaries home just three times in the league ever.
A lot of Norwich’s side remains the same as last year, though Hughton has been quick to tighten up their backline.
Former Sunderland defender Michael Turner joined City from the Black Cats this summer in a deal worth £2.5m whilst Hughton added three more defenders including Steven Whittaker, Sebastien Bassong and Javier Garrido.
In midfielder Ghana-born Norway international Alex Tettey has been a revelation.
The 26 year-old defensive midfielder moved to Carrow Road from French outfit Rennes for an undisclosed fee over the summer and has quickly forced his way into Hughton’s plans.
Tettey made his Premier League debut in the 5-2 home defeat to Norwich and followed that up with his first start against Chelsea. To date he has 14 senior Norway caps after moving to Norway at a young age.
Former Leeds United winger Robert Snodgrass, 25, has quickly adjusted to the Premier League after joining from United for an undisclosed fee.
A full Scotland international with eight caps, Snodgrass is rumoured to have once turned down a trial at Barcelona.
A tricky winger capable of playing on either flank with ease, the Glasgow-born flyer started his career at Livingstone before joining Leeds in the summer of 2008, immediately helping them back into the Championship.
After four years and 35 league goals in 168 appearances, the Scot left Elland Road to test himself at Premier League level.
Up top club captain Grant Holt continues to provide the goal threat, even if he has not shown the same form which put him in the frame for an England call-up last season.
With 63 goals in 133 league appearances for the Canaries, Holt continues to be an enormous asset for Hughton’s side after firing the club to back-to-back promotions before bagging 15 times last season to help the club to a 12th-place finish.
A hulking, old-fashioned forward, the tireless 31 year-old leads the line and works tirelessly for the cause.
Holt has also been Norwich City ‘Player of the Year’ three times and won the same award once each with Rochdale and Nottingham Forest.
Norwich are without the services of John Ruddy, Turner and Harry Kane, meaning Mark Bunn will start in goal again and Ryan Bennett at the back.
Sunderland are without Lee Cattermole (knee), Wes Brown and John O’Shea. O’Neill should stick with the same XI who were held by QPR on Monday night.
Norwich City: Bunn; Whittaker, Bassong, R.Bennett, Garrido; Johnson, Tettey; Snodgrass, Hoolahan, Pilkington; Holt (c).
Sunderland: Mignolet; Bardsley (c), Kilgallon, Cuellar, Rose; Larsson, Gardner, Colback, Johnson; Sessegon; Fletcher.
Referee: Mr P Dowd.