Bradley Johnson would back Gus Poyet to keep bottom club Sunderland in the Premier League – but won’t be doing him any favours come Norwich City’s visit to the Stadium of Light at the weekend.

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The paths of Johnson and Poyet briefly crossed via Leeds, where the former spent three years as a player while Poyet was Dennis Wise’s assistant for 12 months.

The Uruguayan coach has stemmed the Black Cats’ downward spiral, and even started a possible upturn with their League Cup quarter-final victory over Chelsea in midweek – something City will be watchful of come Saturday afternoon.

“He’s a great manager and a good footballing manager; he gets his teams playing,” said Johnson. “I know him well and hopefully he does keep them up.

“We know it’s going to be no easy walkover when we go up there. But we go into every game confident we’re going to pick up points and these are the games we’ve got to pick up points from, against the teams going to be in and around us. Hopefully we do that on Saturday.”

Having been on the fringes of the action earlier in the season, Johnson is enjoying a return to Chris Hughton’s starting XI.

“Last season I wasn’t expecting to play as many games as I did, and I played every game bar one,” added Johnson. “So I think there’s a bit of an expectation that I’ll play every game. But I don’t see it like that.

“I’ll always be ready when I’m called upon, and every time I put that shirt on I’ll give 100pc. The more games I play, I think the better I’ll get.

“It was hard to get into the team at the start of the season. We’ve signed some great players and the manager wanted to change things. But I’ve worked hard and when I’ve got my chance, I’ve taken it.”

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