Domestic football resumes on Wearside this afternoon with Sunderland facing Millwall.
It’s bottom versus nineteenth in arguably the least glamorous Championship fixture of the day, though interest will be boosted by last night’s news that Chris Coleman is set to take charge at the Stadium of Light after the game.
The caretaker-led Black Cats take on The Lions who are led by a bloke who played for Millwall four times against Sunderland before he moved into a coaching position at the Den, eventually wangling the first team manager’s position.
Neil Harris featured up front in the Millwall team the last time the two sides met on Wearside. The visitors won that game by a goal-to-nil in the 2003-4 season in front of 24,877 at the Stadium of Light and in all likelihood there’ll little more than that inside the ground this afternoon.
Apathy amongst the Wearside faithful may yet have bottomed out with the news the club has a new boss, and this afternoon’s attendance will at least be swelled by circa 1,500 Millwall fans making the near five hour trip up the A1.
A certain Dennis Wise was the last Millwall manager to face a Sunderland side. The horrible little oik would later go on to be installed as Director of Football at Newcastle in a Mike Ashley banter appointment.
The 50-year-old Lions legend will be on our TV screens this weekend as he kicks off his quest to be the first ‘celebrity’ kicked out of the jungle when Ant and Dec return to ITV with Get Me Out of Here on Sunday evening. #VoteWiseToEatKangerooBalls.
Despite its happy ending, such was the apparent scattergun approach to the latest managerial recruitment campaign to take place at the Stadium of Light, Dennis Wise probably only managed to avoid being approached by the Sunderland hierarchy by virtue of being safely ensconced in the Australian bush this week.
Chris Coleman may even make an appearance in the stands this afternoon as the former Wales boss prepares himself to be unveiled as Sunderland manager following a protracted search for the successor to Simon Grayson.
Both managers are able to pick from reasonably full-strength squads. Millwall are missing winger Jed Wallace and defensive bod Shaun Williams, whilst Sunderland will be boosted by the fact James Vaughan, Billy Jones and Lamine Kone are all ruled out. Praise be for some good fortune at last.
Sunderland Probable XI: Ruiter; Matthews; Wilson; O’Shea; Oviedo; Cattermole; McNair; Williams; Watmore; McGeady; Grabban.
We all know Sunderland will set an English record for consecutive games without a home victory this afternoon if they fail to pick up three points, whilst Millwall arrive with their own issues to resolve.
The men from Bermondsey are without a win on their travels this season, and are the Championship side to have made the fewest passes on the road and are the team who has scored the fewest goals away from home, bar Burton - so there’s only like to be one result here.
Predicted score: Sunderland to claim the moral victory with a glorious clean sheet, but another crap record to add to our Wikipedia page: 0-0... but Viva La Coleman Revolution - for it is upon us.