May 25 2013 Latest news:
Thursday, March 14, 2013
Daryl Sutch is desperately hoping Norwich City will relieve him of an unwanted record when they face Sunderland in Sunday’s Premier League fixture.
Sutch is still the only man to have scored for the Canaries at the Stadium of Light – and it’s nearly 16 years since he netted the winner in a Nationwide League Division One game.
Sunderland moved to their new stadium in the summer of 1997 and City were the first visiting team to win there, their 1-0 success coming in an August encounter during Mike Walker’s second spell as manager. Four subsequent visits have brought Norwich four defeats without a single goal, most recently the 3-0 Premier League reverse in February last year.
Ex-Canary Sutch, 41, is very much hoping Chris Hughton’s team will end that barren run in Sunday’s televised game (1.30pm).
“It’s a record I would rather not have. I hope somebody can score on Sunday and they come away with at least a point, if not three,” said Sutch.
“After the home draw against Southampton, it’s crucial to come away with something against a side in a similar area in the table.”
Sunderland are currently one place and three points behind City in the table, but with a superior goal difference they would leapfrog them with victory at the weekend.
Whatever the result, however, Sutch does not see either side getting relegated.
“Norwich are still in a great position, after the change of manager and the start to the season they had,” he said. “Everybody knew it would be a tough second season. There are no guarantees in this league.
“It’s a very typical Premier League season with the big clubs head and shoulders above the rest, then everybody beating each other below that and the odd surprise result like Southampton beating Manchester City and Norwich beating Manchester United.
“Chris Hughton has changed a lot of things around and there may be a section of supporters who don’t like his style, but I think he’s done a fantastic job for the club.
“If they stay up – and it’s not a big if for me – they can build from there.
“Had they beaten Southampton last Saturday they would have been 10th in the table. You can’t knock what Chris has done. He’s done a really, really good job.”
Sutch, who played under Sunderland boss Martin O’Neill during his six-month spell as manager at Carrow Road, also feels the Black Cats are in good hands as they seek to secure a seventh successive season in the top flight.
“Martin O’Neill is brilliant at getting the best out of his players. It’s not a situation he will have found himself in as a manager in too many seasons, but I have no doubt about his capabilities in keeping them up, as long as it’s not at Norwich’s expense,” he said. “But I think they’ll both be too far away from the bottom three.”
Sutch, now an estate agent with Temples in Norwich, remembers his Stadium of Light winner, one of nine goals in his 352 appearances for City.
City had lost the first three league games of 1997-98 under Walker and there were no great expecations from their trip to the North East.
But goalkeeper Andy Marshall was in great form and Sutch struck the only goal after 75 minutes. He recalled: “It was a bit of a high pressure game. We were not expected to come away with anything because we were struggling at the bottom.
“I intercepted a ball in the second half, played a one-two with Darren Eadie, and beat the keeper, who was Lionel Perez, to his left hand side – coolly taken, I suppose! It was a memorable moment for me. I didn’t score that many goals and the fact we managed to win made it even better.”