West Bromwich Albion Vs Sunderland, Sat 21 Aug 2010

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Roberto Di Matteo is hoping new blood can provide a much-needed lift for West Brom after the signing of Nigeria striker Peter Odemwingie from Lokomotiv Moscow was confirmed.

The 29-year-old passed a medical and agreed terms last Friday and the deal was finalised the next day but the player then had to secure a work permit and visa.

Odemwingie, who has signed a two-year deal with the option of a further year, arrived back in England on Thursday night and could make his debut against Sunderland if the club receive international clearance in time.

The Baggies are looking to bounce back after marking their return to the Barclays Premier League last weekend with a 6-0 thrashing by Chelsea.

Di Matteo told the club's official website, "I'm delighted to welcome Peter to the club.

"He is an exciting international, has a great CV and I'm sure seeing a player of his calibre coming into the club will give everyone a lift.

"Peter has got great pace, is two-footed, scores goals and has good experience at a very high level.

"We've brought him in as a striker but he can also play out wide, which gives me options."

Odemwingie is Di Matteo's sixth permanent signing of the summer, following Steven Reid, Gabriel Tamas, Pablo Ibanez, Boaz Myhill and Nicky Shorey to The Hawthorns.

The Italian gave debuts to Tamas and Ibanez last weekend, and he will resist the temptation to make wholesale changes against the Black Cats despite their sobering experience at Stamford Bridge.

Di Matteo, who has already confirmed captain Scott Carson will keep his place in goal, said: "There might be a couple of changes but not many.

"Scott knows he made a mistake and he is disappointed about it. But I have confidence in him and I would like him to show tomorrow that he can win us some points."

Two players who will definitely not be available are striker Ishmael Miller (thigh) and defender Joe Mattock (ankle), who have both been ruled out for up to a month after picking up injuries in training this week.

Meanwhile, Sunderland striker Darren Bent has no fears that he will be hit by `second season syndrome' as he attempts to build on his superb start on Wearside.

The 26-year-old fired himself into contention for a place in England's World Cup finals squad with a 25-goal haul after completing a #10million switch to the Stadium of Light last summer, only to be omitted from Fabio Capello's final 23.

Missing out on a second successive chance to appear on the world stage still hurts the former Ipswich, Charlton and Tottenham frontman, but he is ready to channel his frustration into terrorising Barclays Premier League defences once again.

Bent is sure to be paid even more attention this time around after his exploits last season, but he is confident the goals will flow once again after getting off the mark at the first attempt in last Saturday's 2-2 draw with Birmingham.

He said: "I remember when I first went to Charlton, my first season in the Premier League, and I scored 22, people were talking about, 'Can he do it the second season?', and I managed to do it that second season.

"I went to Spurs and it didn't really happen, but I still scored goals even there.

"But the thing is, I am a seasoned pro now and all I have got to keep doing is working hard and hopefully the chances will come."

Bent will go into battle with West Brom expecting to be paid close attention, but happy to take on the challenge for the team's cause.

He said: "If they put two people on me or mark me extra tightly, it's definitely going to free up some space for Fraizer [Campbell] or Danny [Welbeck] or one of the midfield players to get a chance.

"If that's the case, then I am still helping the team out."

Bruce will have to make changes with skipper Lee Cattermole suspended as a result of his red card against Birmingham and John Mensah set to miss several weeks with a hamstring injury.

However, the manager was able field new signings Simon Mignolet, Nedum Onuoha, Titus Bramble, Ahmed Elmohamady, Cristian Riveros and Welbeck last weekend and while he knows it will take time for the likes of Elmohamady and Riveros in particular to settle in, he is happy with the business he has done to date.

He said: "I was delighted with what I saw last week, the way the team shaped up. There's a youthfulness about us and a youthful exuberance that goes with it."

Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.

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West Bromwich Albion
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