It’s game number 21 of the Championship 2017/18 season as Sunderland roll into Wolverhampton to face the league leaders this afternoon.
Sunderland are considerably better on the road than they are on home soil, but considering we’re total toilet (pun intended) at the Stadium of Light, it’s unlikely opposition boss man Nuno Espirito Santo will have lost too much sleep last night.
In case you didn’t catch the news, snow shovels are out in force in the West Midlands after yesterday’s deluge of white stuff from the heavens. Lancashire-based official Jeremy Simpson is the man to make the decision as to whether the game goes ahead. Jezza last took charge of a Sunderland game when Sheffield United’s Clayton Donaldson was hit by a bottle thrown from the Stadium of Light stands in September - snowballs on the cards tomorrow then?
It’s a little over a year since we were last at Molineux. December 2016 saw the Checkatrade extravaganza roll into Wolverhampton with around 1,000 fans watching the club’s U21 sides endure a penalty shootout.
The two clubs have played out some memorable fixtures in recent years, but Sunderland haven’t beaten Wolves in the previous six encounters between the two teams - a record the home side will be keen to maintain.
The last time we won at Molineux was in 1998 on the way to the Play-off finals. Don Goodman was in the home side on that February afternoon having swapped Wearside for the West Midlands a few years prior. What Sunderland fans would give to be in a similar situation this campaign, eh?
Wolves are easily the best the division has to offer so far this season and have few injury concerns ahead of this one. Sunderland on the other hand are without the international quartet of Bryan Oviedo, Paddy McNair, Didier Ndong and Lamine Kone, whilst Billy Jones is also out.
One of the men to watch in the home side is Leo Bonatini. The Brazilian forward has had a hand in most of Wolves’ outstanding attacking play this term and will prove a stern test for the leaden legs of John O’Shea and Marc Wilson in Sunderland’s defence - assuming the latter manages to make just his ninth appearance of the season.
Chris Coleman has his work to cut out to get anything out of this one with most Black Cats fans likely to assume a shrug of the shoulders should defeat follow this afternoon. But surely the underdogs will rise and respond to their manager’s rallying call to show some heart... right? It would be typical Sunderland to follow up last weekend’s humbling with a shock result against the league leaders on a snowy afternoon.
Likely Line-up: God only knows. Let’s hope he’s looking down on us.
Predicted Score: Sunderland to land their first consecutive away victories since 2014 and grind out a stonking 1-0 win. Someone pass the festive sherry... *hic*