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Here are the THREE Oxford United players that Sunderland should be wary of this afternoon

The Lads take on Oxford this afternoon at the Stadium of Light - here are the three opposition players that we need to be most wary of, including a new recruit who used to be on the books here at Sunderland.

Rangers v Oxford - Pre-season Friendly - Ibrox Stadium Photo by Ian Rutherford/PA Images via Getty Images

Alex Gorrin

SPL Games/Goals*: 20/0

As soon as you see a former Sunderland player’s name on an opposition’s team sheet, the fear that they will bang in a last minute winner is palpable.

Martyn Waghorn, Daryl Murphy and even Grant Leadbitter have came back to haunt us in recent years and if the former Academy product’s pre-season form is anything to go by, you wouldn’t bet against him being Oxford’s match-winner.

He was the U’s standout player in his home debut against QPR, scoring a lofted effort past the Championship side, and he seems to be building up a good partnership with fellow new boy Tarique Fosu and key man Cameron Brannigan in midfield.

Gorrin will most likely occupy the holding role in midfield in today’s League One opener.


Simon Eastwood

League One Games/Goals*: 34/11

The long-serving Oxford keeper is one of the most underrated goalkeepers in League One, and if Sunderland are to open the season with three points they’ll hope he is in no mood to spoil the party, as he so often is.

His clean sheet record for a lower mid-table side is mightily impressive, shutting out League One teams twenty-four times over the past two seasons, so perhaps it’s no shock that his return to fitness coincided with Oxford managing to pull themselves out of the mire last season following a disastrous start.

Like any goalkeeper Eastwood will be wanting to start the season in form, so his added determination to keep a clean sheet on opening day means he’s one of our men to watch this Saturday afternoon.


Cameron Brannigan

League One Games/Goals*: 41/3

After one too many years in the Premier League 2 for Liverpool, the dynamic midfielder made the move South last July to the Kassam Stadium and has became the best player in Karl Robinson’s squad.

With talent in abundance, Brannigan performed admirably for Oxford last term, despite the fact he is still very much in the infancy of his career.

He can perform in a number of roles across the middle for Robinson’s side, but is at his best when he is allowed to pull the strings in the centre of midfield, and any Oxford chances are likely to come from the work of this talented 23-year-old.

*Based on 18/19 season.