New Sunderland General has the perfect soldier for West Ham war

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He’s known as the ‘Little General’ and it looks as if Dick Advocaat has the perfect soldier to get his Sunderland recovery mission off to the best possible start, with the battle of E13 their first port of call.

The Black Cats will be looking to move away from the relegation zone in the early days of the Dutchman’s reign, starting with a win at West Ham.

One man that they need on the front line is Jermain Defoe.

Having fought on the claret and blue side of this war in the past, the former England man knows the Boleyn Ground like the back of his hand, but boy does he like putting it to his former employers.

In his last five matches against the Hammers, Defoe has netted four times, and while some home fans will be pleased to see their academy product back in east London, for others it will be an unwelcome return.

Netting against former clubs is a habit the 32-year-old seems to find all too natural.

Prior to leaving for the MLS, Defoe twice featured for Tottenham against Portsmouth, the team he rejoined from in 2009 – he scored in both matches.

That was perhaps to level out the scores, having converted from the penalty spot in Pompey’s 2-0 victory back in September 2008, his only appearance for the south coast club against the Lilywhites.

He’s already found the net twice since moving to the Stadium of Light, and at 29/10 to bag another against Sam Allardyce’s men could be a worthwhile bet.

The visitors are winless in six, and as 10/3 underdogs to bag the three points could be set to continue that run.

But those forecasting a straight forward home victory with Sunderland in apparent dire straits would do better than to look at Dick Advocaat’s record in his managerial debut for his recent sides.

The 67-year-old has tasted defeat just once in the opening fixture in his last 12 roles, winning five of them.

And with West Ham themselves without a victory since January, a Jermain Defoe Wincast at 13/2 could be the shrewdest of bets.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Ben Stones

Ladbrokes News’ equine expert, Ben likes nothing more than studying the form to pick out a winner or two for our readers. A Journalism and Media Studies graduate from the University of Winchester, Ben has previously written for a number of football and racing blogs and websites, as well as contributing to the sports pages of his home-town newspaper.