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Match Preview: Can Sunderland spoil Southend and Sol’s day out at the SOL?

Sunderland face a rotten Southend United side this afternoon, but can the Black Cats put a stop to a worrying run of three defeats in four by winning in convincing style?

Southend United v Ipswich Town - Sky Bet League One - Roots Hall Photo by Steven Paston/PA Images via Getty Images

Sunderland’s League Cup dream is over, so it’s back to our main dream of not starting another season in League One. The Lads are back at the Stadium of Light and host a Southend United side in utter turmoil. The Shrimpers have already conceded a whopping 43 goals so far this campaign, but have new boss Sol Campbell at the helm.

The Black Cats are also in a sticky run of form, losing three of their last four league games but have lost just one of their home league games since the start of the 2018/19 season. A repeat of the dismantling of Tranmere Rovers will settle some of the jitters on Wearside and quell any disconcerting voices of Phil Parkinson’s reign thus far.

Oxford United v Sunderland AFC - Carabao Cup Round of 16 Photo by Alex Davidson/Getty Images

Parky Says…

On potential new investment:

It is great for the club and gets the club in a strong position. That is what the chairman wanted. It is good news for everybody.

For any owner and for supporters they want the long term future of the club secure and fresh investment can help that. It is all-round good news and at the right time after getting through this Saturday-Tuesday-Saturday run of games.

On new Southend boss Sol Campbell:

Sol did very well in his last job at Macclesfield and he has all the capabilities of doing it again at Southend too I am sure.

Shrewsbury Town v Sunderland - Sky Bet Leauge One Photo by Alan Hayward/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Team News

Parkinson confirmed that both Lynden Gooch and Charlie Wyke will miss the game against Southend. The pair are yet to return to full training while there are also concerns over Duncan Watmore, who has a virus and will be assessed ahead of kick-off. Goalkeeper Lee Burge is still struggling with a thigh injury so it is likely that Jon McLaughlin will continue in goal.

Joel Lynch has managed to shake off a knock from the game at Oxford and is expected to start alongside Jordan Willis. Wyke’s absence will also be an opportunity for Will Grigg to bounce back after his penalty miss at the Kassam Stadium.

Shrewsbury Town v Sunderland - Sky Bet Leauge One Photo by Alan Hayward/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

View From The Opposition

It cannot be said that Sol Campbell shirks a challenge when it comes to management. The former Arsenal and England defender dived in at the deep end when he took over Macclesfield Town last season and now arrives at Roots Hall in another perceived rescue operation.

After the Shrimpers’ dramatic last-minute escape on the final day of last season, they have started the new campaign in disastrous fashion. The Essex side have conceded a staggering 43 goals so far including a recent 7-1 humiliation at home to Doncaster Rovers. Losing 12 of their 15 League One games, their only victory has been 1-0 away to MK Dons.

However, Campbell produced miracles to keep Macclesfield in the Football League and the Southend hierarchy will be praying for more acts of magic from their charismatic leader.

Saturday is set to be a big day for Shrimpers striker Tom Hopper who is hoping to whip out an Alan Shearer-style celebration should he hit the back of the net on Wearside. He will be hoping that the coaching of former Magpie striker and new Southend coach Andy Cole will pay dividends.

Hopper told Echo News:

The sessions have been enjoyable and he’s [Cole] passing on lots of advice. When someone with a career like he has says something you definitely take it on board.

Growing up it was Alan Shearer I idolised and that’s why I celebrate with one hand up, just like he used to, every time I score. Arsenal was actually my team as a kid but it was Shearer I looked up to most because he was a great player.

I’ve always done that celebration and of course it would be great to do it again tomorrow. But it’s getting the result that matters most because we want to start putting things right.

Southend United v Ipswich Town - Sky Bet League One - Roots Hall Photo by Steven Paston/PA Images via Getty Images

Match Stats

Venue: Stadium of Light, Sunderland
Kick-off: 3pm
Referee: Trevor Kettle
Current position: 22nd
Last season position: 19th (League One)

Last 5 results:

SAFC

(LC) Oxford United (A) 1-1 (2-4 on pens)
(L1) Shrewsbury Town (A) 0-1
(L1) Tranmere Rovers (H) 5-0
(L1) Wycombe Wanderers (A) 0-1
(LT) Grimsby Town (H) 3-2

SUFC

(L1) Ipswich Town (H) 1-3
(L1) Doncaster Rovers (H) 1-7
(L1) Tranmere Rovers (A) 1-1
(L1) AFC Wimbledon (H) 1-4
(L1) Gillingham (A) 1-3

The Shrimpers on Wearside

27 Oct 2018 (L1) Sunderland 3-0 Southend United (Honeyman, Maguire, McGeady)
17 Feb 2007 (CH) Sunderland 4-0 Southend United (Connolly, Hysen, John 2)
09 Sep 1995 (D1) Sunderland 1-0 Southend United (Russell)
01 Oct 1994 (D1) Sunderland 0-1 Southend United
20 Nov 1993 (D1) Sunderland 0-2 Southend United

Top goalscorers (in all competitions)

5 - Stephen Humphrys
3 - Charlie Kelman
2 - Simon Cox
2 - Brandon Goodship
2 - Stephen McLaughlin

Southend United v Ipswich Town - Sky Bet League One - Roots Hall Photo by Steven Paston/PA Images via Getty Images

Last Time We Met

It’s just over 12 months since the Shrimpers last graced the Stadium of Light. At the time, Sunderland were in the midst of a nine-game winning run and hadn’t conceded a goal in four league matches. The smell of promotion was in the air on Wearside as Jack Ross’ men were seemingly finding their feet in League One.

Southend were comfortably swatted away with George Honeyman, Aiden McGeady and an absolute screamer from Chris Maguire gave the Black Cats a comfortable 3-0 win. Southend would have the last laugh, however, beating Sunderland on the final day of the season to secure their safety.

Sunderland v Southend United - Sky Bet League One Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images