Sunderland take a break from the relentless 1-1 draws of the League One campaign to head to Accrington for the opening round of the Carabao Cup.
With the competition fairly low down on the list of priorities, Jack Ross is expected to make a raft of changes as the Lads look to secure a first win of the season against a Stanley side who have yet to score so far.
Jack Ross Says...
On the performance at Ipswich:
The first half was a long way short of where we need to be, a long way short of what we need to do as a team and a long way short of what I would put my name to.
Ultimately, it always comes back to me. There was a frank discussion at half-time because we were a goal behind to a team that did the fundamentals a lot better than us.
We’ve got players with quality but you need to do the basics.
It’s not very often I’ve said that in my time here, we’ve been frustrated by results at times but there’s been very few times when I can be disappointed with the application. That was the case in first 45 but credit to them, they turned it around.
On team selection at Accrington:
We’ll use our squad on Tuesday because we have a really big league game coming up on Saturday. We’ll have a couple that will benefit from playing too.
We’ll freshen it up on Tuesday and that will give some an opportunity, because while I was pleased with the second half (at Ipswich), I wasn’t with the first.
Jack Ross confirmed on Saturday there would be a number of changes for the trip to Accrington. This could see a return to the team for the likes of Max Power, Chris Maguire, Alim Ozturk, Jack Baldwin and newly-installed captain Grant Leadbitter.
Sunderland will be without four players on Tuesday with Dylan McGeouch joining Ethan Robson, Glenn Loovens and Duncan Watmore on the treatment table. Both Will Grigg and Elliot Embleton lost their spots in the starting XI against Ipswich but given the woeful first-half performance they could be making a return. Youngster Benji Kimpioka could also be given a run-out to gain valuable first-team minutes.
Ross also has a major decision to make over the choice of system after the side badly floundered under the 3-4-2-1 formation at Portman Road and didn’t look comfortable until switching back to 4-4-2.
View from the opposition
The biggest change at Stanley during the close season was the installation of a new pitch. Owner Andy Holt was very quick to show off the new playing surface which looks a considerable upgrade on the ploughed field Sunderland had the privilege of playing on last season.
The Lancashire side have so far managed to keep hold of both Sean McConville and Billy Kee. The pair were instrumental in Stanley’s survival last year scoring a combined 32 goals in the all competitions. Manager John Coleman has been able to add promising youngster Joe Pritchard and the prolific lower league striker and brilliantly named Colby Bishop to his ranks during the window.
Stanley enjoyed a fairly interesting pre-season campaign losing to Sligo Rovers and Bala Town but managing to beat Marseille. Andre Villas-Boas’ side, which included Dimitri Payet and Newcastle legend Florian Thauvin, were no match for the prowess of messrs McConville and Offrande Zanzala as Stanley triumphed 2-1.
Coleman’s side come into Tuesday’s game having had a week off following the postponement of their home game against Bury due to the Shakers’ ongoing financial issues. It means Stanley will be looking to score their first goal of the season after losing to Lincoln City on the opening day.
They will be without Zanzala who is recovering from a knock, while Kee is unavailable due to personal reasons.
Speaking ahead of the game, Coleman told the club’s official website:
It’s going to be difficult [against Sunderland] we know that, we had a couple of good games against them last year and what we’ve got to try and do now is put the disappointment of the Lincoln game behind us and try and kick on.
As I said it’s going to be a tough game, but we’ve got players who are realising the way we play now.
We have to learn from it, and hopefully the players will learn from it, I know the players are dying to get back out onto the pitch and try and write a few wrongs from that game.
Venue: Wham Stadium, Accrington
Referee: Darren Drysdale
Last season position: 14th (League One)
Last 5 results:
(L1) Ipswich Town (A) 1-1
(L1) Oxford United (H) 1-1
(FR) Heerenveen (H) 0-1
(FR) Belenenses (N) 0-1
(FR) Benfica B (N) 0-0
(L1) Lincoln City (A) 0-2
(FR) Morecambe (N) 2-0
(FR) Preston North End (N) 1-1
(FR) Warrington Town (A) 0-0
(FR) Bala Town (A) 0-1
Sunderland at Accrington
03 Apr 2019 (L1) Accrington Stanley 0-3 Sunderland (McGeady, Grigg, Sterling)
Sunderland in the League Cup 1st Round
2018/19 Sunderland 0-2 Sheffield Wednesday
2017/18 Bury 0-1 Sunderland (Honeyman)
2006/07 Bury 2-0 Sunderland
2004/05 Sunderland 3-0 Chester City (Hessey OG, Kyle, Caldwell)
2003/04 Mansfield Town 1-2 Sunderland (Artell OG, Kyle)
Top goalscorers (in all competitions)
Last Time We Met
Days after a heartbreaking penalty shootout defeat to Portsmouth in the Checkatrade Trophy final, Sunderland took all their anger out on Stanley. Playing on the patented farmer’s field at the Crown Ground, the Lads were two up by half time thanks to Aiden McGeady and Will Grigg.
Charlie Wyke spent the second half attempting to break the record for amount of sitters missed in a single game before Kaz Sterling (another one for you Sporcle fans in the years to come) wrapped up a comfortable 3-0 win.
Travelling supporters also enjoyed the novelty of leaving Accrington without catching pneumonia, which is always a bonus.