Sunderland face Accrington Stanley for the second time this season at the Crown Ground on Saturday. Jack Ross’ men won 3-1 against Stanley in the Carabao Cup, courtesy of goals from Marc McNulty, Aiden McGeady and Charlie Wyke.
The two sides have had contrasting openings to their League One campaigns as Sunderland sit 8th four points from 1st, whilst Accrington are placed anxiously in 19th. The lads will be looking to get back to winning ways after a shocking away performance against Peterborough prior to the international break.
Jack Ross says...
The Sunderland manager spoke about the international break and how he thinks that, although the players might have wanted a game sooner, this break has helped his coaching team:
The preference is always to play again straight after a defeat. Generally, players prefer matches to training.
If you have just won one you can’t wait to play again. If you have lost one then the only time players really look for a break is if you are on a really bad run.
We had been on a really good run so after losing one we would have liked to get back out there as quickly as we could. Obviously that never happened.
It has allowed us to rest a little bit but then have a really good week on the training pitch. They have looked refreshed, they have looked at it and we can’t wait to get out there on Saturday.
I have enjoyed it. We had a little bit of time off which helps players and staff. We are not going to have a full week’s training over the next few weeks.
So from a coaching point of view and having that proper time on the training pitch, it has felt like one of those weeks we could get a lot from and hopefully we will see the benefit of that over the next few weeks.
Both Denver Hume and the impressive Chris Maguire are back in contention this weekend after missing the poor performance away to Peterborough last time out.
Charlie Wyke is suspended, though Ross noted he is also carrying a knock, so his enforced absence potentially allows him a chance to regain full fitness ahead of the Rotherham and Bolton games next week.
Furthermore, Joel Lynch and Laurens De Bock are short of match fitness and will instead play for the U23s on Monday night.
Duncan Watmore is the only player unavailable due to injury, unfortunately.
View from the opposition
John Coleman spoke to the Lancashire press and noted that his side are making progress but doesn’t know whether Sunderland’s extended break will prove to be a help or a hindrance for Jack Ross’ side:
I think I have made up my mind what my starting XI will be but it has been tricky. I am probably still in two minds over one position.
At our club, we know our signings are punts to some extent. Some of them have played none or little league football so you are never quite sure how they will react but it’s been positive on the training pitch.
You have to pick what you think will be the best team to give you the best chance of beating the opposition and we know Sunderland will be tough. They’ve had to sit and stew on it because of the international break – it’s 14 days.
That can work one or two ways – it can make them really fired up or it can make them a little bit rusty. We can’t govern what they do, you can only govern your own thoughts and actions.
I watched the full game against Peterborough and that could have gone either way, as a lot of games can in our league. It’s all about taking your chances and keeping them out.
Peterborough were very clinical, and, on another day, you get a couple of decisions here and there, Sunderland might have felt unfortunate not getting a penalty at 0-0. Games can change very quickly, and you have to do is overcome them setbacks and rise above them.
Venue: Wham Stadium, Accrington
Referee: Lee Swabey
Last season position: 14th (League One)
Last 5 results:
(L1) Peterborough United (A) 0-3
(LC) Burnley (A) 3-1
(L1) AFC Wimbledon (H) 3-1
(L1) Rochdale (A) 2-1
(L1) Portsmouth (H) 2-1
(L1) Bristol Rovers (A) 3-3
(LT) Fleetwood Town (H) 2-1
(L1) MK Dons (H) 2-1
(L1) Fleetwood Town (A) 0-2
(L1) Shrewsbury Town (H) 2-3
The Lads at Accrington
03 Apr 2019 (L1): Accrington Stanley 0-3 Sunderland (McGeady, Grigg, Sterling)
13 Aug 2019 (LC): Accrington Stanley 1-3 Sunderland (McNulty, McGeady, Wyke)
Top goalscorers (in all competitions)
4 - Colby Bishop
2 - Dion Charles
1 - Wilson Carvalho
1 - Jordan Clark
1 - Sam Finley
Last time we met...
A good result in the League Cup saw Sunderland defeat Accrington 3-1 away from home.
Although Sunderland initially led through a Marc McNulty goal, a poor penalty drew Stanley level on the hour mark until Aiden McGeady’s magic grabbed us the lead in the 79th minute. Charlie Wyke put the icing on the cake fifteen minutes later with an injury-time strike.
Jack Ross and his men will be looking for a similar result this time out as they look to get back to winning ways against Stanley whose recent form is pretty decent.