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Match Preview: Sunderland take on Bolton today, with a few familiar faces returning to Wearside

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Nobody quite knows what to expect from today but, with the likes of Daryl Murphy and Liam Bridcutt in tow, Bolton will be hoping to take all three points and spoil Christmas for Sunderland’s supporters.

Bolton Wanderers v Sunderland - Sky Bet League One Photo by Andrew Kearns - CameraSport via Getty Images

‘Tis the season to be jolly, and what better way to continue the Christmas festivities than watching Phil Parkinson and his band of merry losers struggle to break down a team that almost went bust in the summer. Yes, Bolton Wanderers are in town on this exciting Boxing Day fixture in front of a bumper/completely normal attendance. Sunderland haven’t won since early November, lie 14th in the league and Parkinson is still inexplicably in charge, have fun everyone!

Sunderland v Blackpool - Sky Bet League One Photo by Alex Dodd - CameraSport via Getty Images

Parky Says…

I had some good memories at Bolton. My time there was tainted by the financial problems in my last year, but I am looking forward to coming up against them again. It will be a tough game, but we are ready for it.

I know what I need to get to be successful at this club. I am working hard to get this team into a position where we can challenge. We must get more out of the players but of course, we would like to improve the squad.

Sunderland v Blackpool - Sky Bet League One Photo by Alex Dodd - CameraSport via Getty Images

Team News

Jordan Willis returns to the side after missing the Blackpool stalemate with a knee injury in what could see minimal changes to the heroic draw against the Seasiders. George Dobson’s dismissal last time out means the midfielder is suspended for this Boxing Day clash. Parkinson did however note that he has a couple of injury concerns which could mean extra surprise to the line-up.


View From The Opposition

For Bolton Wanderers’ supporters, Boxing Day represents a meeting with the ghost of football past. The Trotters’ faithful are well versed in the pulsating football served up by Phil Parkinson and will arrive at the Stadium of Light aiming to push their former master towards the exit door on Wearside.

Parkinson, of course, oversaw Bolton’s start to the season where their children were routinely bodied 5-0 by the great and good of League One. Since Parkinson’s departure, the void has been filled by the dream team of Keith Hill and David Flitcroft and results have improved. The Trotters have been steadily chipping away at their 12 point deduction and currently sit on 5 points with 4 wins from their 18 games.

They’re spearheaded by former Sunderland and Newcastle United forward Daryl Murphy, who has been inspirational in Bolton’s semi-revival. After a hard fought victory over Sol Campbell’s car crash of Southend United a Murphy-inspired Wanderers is just the Christmas present Sunderland need.

Bolton Wanderers v Southend United - Sky Bet League One Photo by Andrew Kearns - CameraSport via Getty Images

Match Stats

Venue: Stadium of Light, Sunderland
Kick-off: 3pm
Referee: Ross Joyce
Current position: 23rd
Last season position: 23rd (Championship)

Last 5 results:

SAFC

(L1) Blackpool (H) 1-1
(L1) Gillingham (A) 0-1
(L1) Burton Albion (H) 1-2
(L1) Coventry City (H) 1-1
(FAC) Gillingham (A) 0-1

BWFC

(L1) Southend United (H) 3-2
(L1) Peterborough United (A) 0-1
(LT) Accrington Stanley (A) 0-2
(L1) AFC Wimbledon (H) 2-2
(L1) Accrington Stanley (A) 1-7

The Trotters on Wearside

31 Oct 2017 (CH) Sunderland 3-3 Bolton Wanderers (Grabban 2, McNair)
15 Jan 2013 (FAC) Sunderland 0-2 Bolton Wanderers
28 Apr 2012 (PL) Sunderland 2-2 Bolton Wanderers (Bendtner, McClean)
18 Dec 2010 (PL) Sunderland 1-0 Bolton Wanderers (Welbeck)
09 Mar 2010 (PL) Sunderland 4-0 Bolton Wanderers (Campbell, Bent 3)

Top goalscorers (in all competitions)

6 - Daryl Murphy
2 - Joseph Dodoo
2 - Luke Murphy
2 - Thibaud Verlinden
1 - Ronan Darcy

Bolton Wanderers v AFC Wimbledon - Sky Bet League One Photo by Andrew Kearns - CameraSport via Getty Images

Last Time We Met

Remember that time the club announced Simon Grayson’s sacking with pumpkin emoji? Those were halcyon days weren’t they? On a freezing cold Halloween evening, two woefully football sides played the most underwhelming 3-3 draw professional football has ever witnessed.

Scrapping at the foot of the Championship, Sunderland and Bolton were already enduring rancid seasons. For the Lads it got even worse when Sammy Ameobi lashed home an opener but two goals from Lewis “all he does is score” Grabban had Sunderland ahead shortly after half time. What followed was two hilarious bits of defending that allowed Bolton to go back ahead.

Paddy McNair did rescue a point for the home side but it didn’t save Grayson from the sack who was dismissed in the tunnel mere minutes after the final whistle. One only prays that a similar fate will await Phil Parkinson should Sunderland continue their winless run.

Sunderland v Bolton Wanderers - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images