Stats: Darren Fletcher's return could prove crucial for West Brom

The Baggies midfielder will return for Tony Pulis's side - how will he fare against Sunderland's Liam Bridcutt?

Ahead of West Brom's visit of Sunderland later today, Tony Pulis has been boosted by the return of Darren Fletcher.

The midfielder's January signing was widely praised and his influence has already made a crucial impact within the West Brom dressing room.

And, while Brown Ideye and Saido Berahino are stealing the headlines for the Baggies, the hugely experienced 31-year-old has the know-how to win crucial games for West Brom.

Today's clash at Sunderland is a perfect opportunity for him to do just that. Standing in his way, though, will likely be Black Cats midfielder Liam Bridcutt.

 Premier League stats Passing AccuracyAccurate Passes/GameTackles WonInterceptions WonTouches TakenAppearancesMinutes Played
Darren Fletcher 89% 25.54 0.46 0.92 33.92 13 544
Liam Bridcutt 81% 20.85 1.38 1.54 35.31 13 636

As Opta stats show, Fletcher has averaged an 89 per cent passing accuracy during appearances for Manchester United and West Brom and completes around 25 accurate passes per game.

That passing presence will be key if the Baggies are to capitalise on Sunderland's current lack of confidence.

Interestingly, both Bridcutt and Fletcher have made 13 appearances from midfield this season and average a similar amount of touches per game, with the Sunderland man edging his West Brom counterpart here.

But where Bridcutt outshines the 31-year-old is defensively, averaging far more tackles per game and also more interceptions.

Both will no doubt be out to prove to their managers they are worth their spot in their respective starting line-ups - and the winner of the midfield battle here may well decide the outcome of today's game.

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