Ray Parlour predicts Norwich vs Sunderland, backs this man to be the difference

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The former England midfielder believes Jermain Defoe's firepower will see the Black Cats secure a priceless three points.

Former Arsenal and England midfielder Ray Parlour has backed the goalscoring ability of Sunderland striker Jermain Defoe to earn them a vital three points at fellow strugglers Norwich City on Saturday, as quoted by the Sunderland Echo.

The Black Cats travel to Carrow Road to face the Canaries on Saturday lunchtime knowing that a win will bring them to within a point of safety with a game in hand, whilst defeat will leave them seven points adrift with just five matches remaining.

Sam Allardyce's side lost 2-0 at home to title-chasing Leicester City last weekend to leave them without a win in their last six Premier League matches and third-bottom of the table.

However, in Defoe they have a striker who has scored 15 goals this season and eight in his 13 appearances in 2016, and Parlour believes his nous in front of goal could be the deciding factor at Carrow Road.

Parlour said, as quoted by the Sunderland Echo: "This is a game Sam Allardyce will be looking at and saying we have to win. Sunderland lost 2-0 to Leicester last time out, Jamie Vardy scored two goals. They are away from home, Carrow Road, where Norwich got that brilliant 3-2 result against Newcastle.

"Norwich will be looking at this game, losing at Palace. I was at Selhurst Park and they need to bounce back now. This is a game Alex Neil looked at and said, we have to win this game, very similar to Sam Allardyce.

"It will be a bit cagey, but believe it or not, I am going to go with a Sunderland win because of their goalpower. Jermaine Defoe, if he gets a couple of chances, you would back him to take them. I'm going to go with a Sunderland win and Norwich to get dragged back into the relegation placement."

Defoe's goals have been vital for the Black Cats, with the 33-year-old having netted a third of his club's total in the league this season, although he has not found the net since his derby-day strike against Newcastle on 20 March.

It would be the ideal time for Sunderland to return to winning ways and bolster their own survival chances not just with three points, but by ensuring Norwich are dragged back at this late stage of the season.

Whilst a draw would not worsen their position apart from seeing another game pass by without victory, defeat to the team directly above them would leave them with a mountainous task to secure survival in the final weeks of the season.

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