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Stern John is preparing for a white-hot welcome at second-placed West Brom this weekend.


The Sunderland striker knows he will be a target for the Baggies fans thanks to his spells at Midlands rivals Birmingham and Coventry.

However, the Trinidad and Tobago international is not worried - all he cares about is helping Sunderland extend their nine-game unbeaten league run and keep the Black Cats' promotion bandwagon rolling.

He said: "I know it is likely to be a bit lively for me down there, especially with me having played for two of their rival clubs.

"I expect a bit of stick, but that is football and to be honest it will not really concern me at all.

"All I am interested in is that we keep on playing as well as we have done since I joined the club, because it has been great to be part of a team which has been playing so well.

"It is a fantastic time for myself and the club and we are in a good position now.

"I am looking forward to the Albion game because that will be another big test for us."

John has featured in virtually every game for Sunderland since moving to Wearside in the January transfer window.

The 30-year-old got off the mark for his new club two weeks ago when he netted twice in Sunderland's 4-0 demolition of Southend at the Stadium of Light.

John said: "I am glad I am off the mark and up and running because it is important for any striker to get goals when he joins a new club.

"It does not matter how well you play in games, strikers are always judged on their goals.

"Now that I have two under my belt I can relax and not try too hard and end up snatching at chances."

John could have added to his tally in Sunderland's 2-1 win against promotion rivals Derby last weekend but he was denied on a two occasions by Rams' goalkeeper Stephen Bywater.

John added: "On another day they would have gone in and, if you are a striker, as long as you are receiving chances you feel fine because you know sooner or later you will put them away.

"The time to worry is when no chances are being created for you but thankfully that has not been a problem at all since I first joined Sunderland.

"The team seems to be playing really well from the back all the way through to the front and that iswhat we have to focus on maintaining this weekend."

Manager Keane will have skipper Dean Whitehead available again tomorrow, the midfielder having served a one-match ban.

Whitehead is likely to return in central midfield but, if so, Keane will have to decide whether to leave out Dwight Yorke or the scorer of Sunderland's injury-time winner against Derby, Liam Miller.