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Match Preview: Five games without a win for Sunderland - will they beat old foes Burton Albion?

Sunderland face a must-win game against Burton Albion this evening. Now five games without a victory, nothing short of three points will do for Phil Parkinson’s men.

Burton Albion v AFC Bournemouth - Carabao Cup - Third Round - Pirelli Stadium Photo by Barrington Coombs/PA Images via Getty Images

Sunderland have the opportunity to make ground on the promotion-chasing pack when they face Burton Albion this evening. The Lads produced yet another insipid display against Coventry City on Saturday and were only saved by a last-minute equaliser from youngster Benji Kimpioka. They are now without a win in five games, and nothing less than a victory will do over the Brewers.

Burton are also enduring a disappointing run of form, winning just once in their last five, and a home win would put Sunderland level on points with sixth-placed Oxford United.

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

Parky Says…

When people say it is ‘must-win’ that creates tension.

It is a ‘must perform to the best of our ability’ game.

We want to concentrate on the factors we feel are important against Burton, take the positives from Saturday and improve on them and then hopefully we can go to another level which will result in three points.

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

Team News

Conor McLaughlin is back from suspension, while Jordan Willis has shaken off a knock sustained on Saturday. Midfielder George Dobson will miss the Burton game through suspension so it may see Luke O’Nien restored to the centre of the park.

Marc McNulty, Charlie Wyke and Lynden Gooch are all still out.

Sunderland v Coventry City - Sky Bet Championship -Stadium of Light Photo by Dave Howarth/EMPICS/PA Images via Getty Images

View From The Opposition

There was a time that playing Burton Albion in a league fixture would seem like a totally alien concept. However, in the past two years the Brewers have become Sunderland’s bogey team, beating them just once in their four meetings.

The cherry on the cake was naturally a Darren Bent-inspired victory which relegated Chris Coleman’s Sunderland to the third tier.

The visitors find themselves in a similar position to Sunderland this campaign and are currently languishing in 15th place, despite pre-season ambitions of a play-off spot. Nigel Clough’s men haven’t won in the league since beating AFC Wimbledon on October 22nd but the manager is hoping to take the game to Sunderland.

We will play the same way tomorrow and try and take the game to them, create chances and play good football.

Sometimes it works and we finish off our chances, sometimes we play well but don’t take the chances and then the opposition put one in the top corner like at Peterborough. But we will go with the same approach as we have in all the games.

It’s a big ground and a much bigger crowd than we are used to and if you have anything about you, you want to play in those stadiums and those sort of games.

In football these days finances dominate everything and there’s no level playing field and the biggest spenders end up at the top. Sunderland and Ipswich are among the biggest clubs in the league and it’s difficult for us to compete, but we know we can beat anybody in the league on our day.

Burton Albion v Leicester City - Carabao Cup Round of 16 Photo by Jon Hobley/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Match Stats

Venue: Stadium of Light, Sunderland
Kick-off: 7.45pm
Referee: Rob Lewis
Current position: 15th
Last season position: 9th (League One)

Last 5 results:

SAFC

(L1) Coventry City (H) 1-1
(FAC) Gillingham (A) 0-1
(LT) Scunthorpe United (A) 0-3
(FAC) Gillingham (H) 1-1
(LT) Leicester City U21 (H) 1-2

BAFC

(L1) Peterborough United (A) 0-1
(FAC) Salford City (H) 4-1
(LT) Mansfield Town (H) 1-2
(FAC) Salford City (A) 1-1
(L1) Doncaster Rovers (A) 2-2

The Brewers on Wearside

09 Apr 2019 (L1) Sunderland 1-1 Burton Albion (Baldwin)
21 Apr 2018 (CH) Sunderland 1-2 Burton Albion (McNair)

Top goalscorers (in all competitions)

7 - Liam Boyce
5 - Scott Fraser
4 - Lucas Akins
4 - Oliver Sarkic
3 - Nathan Broadhead

Burton Albion v Leicester City - Carabao Cup Round of 16 Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Last Time We Met

Among the myriad of 1-1 draws in Sunderland’s 2018/19 campaign, this one rankled the most. A win over Burton Albion would’ve given the Lads breathing space in the top two with only six games remaining. Naturally, Burton were a goal up within 19 minutes and Sunderland could only summon a Jack Baldwin equaliser in response.

Coupled with the bizarre defeat to Coventry the following week, it heartily derailed Sunderland’s promotion push.

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