After a thoroughly uninspiring and predictable stalemate against Bolton Wanderers on Boxing Day, Sunderland head to Doncaster looking to score their first away league goal from open play since September 14th. The Lads go into the game in South Yorkshire sitting 15th in League One, their lowest ever position, but will still be inexplicably backed by almost 4,000 travelling supporters on Sunday.
The game also marks the first since the unilateral support from all fanzines for owner Stewart Donald to sell the club immediately. So, if you’re heading to the Keepmoat Stadium, make your message loud and clear. Donald out.
Does anyone actually care?
Defender Tom Flanagan is a doubt for the Doncaster game after going off with a knock on Boxing Day. The Northern Irishman’s absence could see a recall for Laurens De Bock as Parkinson will no doubt be sending his troops out for a glorious draw. George Dobson is back available after completing a one-match suspension.
View From The Opposition
For two clubs that were contesting the play-offs at the end of the last campaign, it speaks volumes that both Doncaster and Sunderland find themselves 14th and 15th, respectively. However, while the ovewhelming sense of despair is engulfing Wearside, there is a much more positive mood in South Yorkshire.
Rovers managed to halt a five-game winless run in the league with a hugely impressive 3-0 away victory at Peterborough United on Boxing Day. Despite Sunderland’s current predicament, Doncaster boss Darren Moore is still wary of the threat Phil Parkinson’s side supposedly pose.
Speaking to the Yorkshire Evening Post, Moore said:
We are just looking at the Sunderland game as an isolated fixture and we know they are a fantastic club with some wonderful players. We are going to have to be at our very best.
They are one of the strong teams in the division, managed by a very experienced manager in Phil. It will be difficult and they ask questions of you.
They are a strong team and a big football club at this level. It is another difficult fixture and every game in League One presents its own problems and you have got to be ready.
Venue: Keepmoat Stadium, Doncaster
Referee: Darren Drysdale
Current position: 14th
Last season position: 6th (League One)
Last 5 results:
(L1) Bolton Wanderers (H) 0-0
(L1) Blackpool (H) 1-1
(L1) Gillingham (A) 0-1
(L1) Burton Albion (H) 1-2
(L1) Coventry City (H) 1-1
(L1) Peterborough United (A) 3-0
(L1) Accrington Stanley (H) 1-1
(L1) AFC Wimbledon (A) 1-2
(L1) MK Dons (H) 1-1
(LT) Leicester U21 (H) 0-3
The Lads at Doncaster
23 Oct 2018 (L1) Doncaster Rovers 0-1 Sunderland (Maguire)
03 Oct 2017 (LT) Doncaster Rovers 1-0 Sunderland
29 Aug 1987 (D3) Doncaster Rovers 0-2 Sunderland (Lemon, Owers)
Top goalscorers (in all competitions)
8 - Kieran Sadlier
4 - James Coppinger
4 - Jon Taylor
4 - Benjamin Whiteman
3 - Kwame Thomas
Last Time We Met
I often reminisce about our last trip to the Keepmoat Stadium. Sunderland were in the midst of a seven-game winning run, backed by a buoyant away support and put a promotion contender to the sword in their own backyard. An ill-tempered game was won by a Chris Maguire goal minutes into the second half and ended with him carrying James Coppinger like a babe in arms.
I often think back to that evening and then I look at the car crash the club has become and makes me so grateful to Richard Hill for saving us.