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Match Preview: Sunderland v Wycombe Wanderers

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Despite Gareth Ainsworth billing the game as another ‘David v Goliath’ clash, the table suggests that it will be anything but. Will we maintain our good recent form with a win against League One’s table-toppers?

Wycombe Wanderers v Coventry City - Sky Bet League One Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

Sunderland welcome league leaders Wycombe Wanderers to the Stadium of Light against a backdrop of our beloved owner having a totally normal one. While the Lads on the pitch are currently on a five-game unbeaten and within striking distance of the play-offs, Stewart Donald continues his crusade against Sunderland supporters.

Since, in his mind, nasty fans are the root cause of, statistically, the worst ever Sunderland side in history, we can probably expect yet more of these hissy fits in the coming weeks. Anyway, the Lads have the chance to build on a surprising upturn in form and put the table-topping Chairboys to the sword.

Sunderland v Lincoln City - Sky Bet League One Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Parky Says…

I feel momentum is starting to build and our work rate is getting to where it needs to be. That must continue and we can’t afford to let it drop off.

Wycombe have done great and they are good at what they do. They disrupt the flow of the game and I would imagine they will be looking to slow things down and we need to be ready to deal with that.

Sunderland v Lincoln City - Sky Bet League One Photo by Chris Vaughan - CameraSport via Getty Images

Team News

Parkinson confirmed that both Luke O’Nien and Joel Lynch have shaken off midweek illnesses and will be available for the visit of Wycombe. Having been recalled from his loan spell at Grimsby Town, Ethan Robson provides an extra option in midfield.

Sunderland v Lincoln City - Sky Bet League One Photo by Chris Vaughan - CameraSport via Getty Images

View From The Opposition

Despite topping the table, Wycombe will play the role of plucky underdog as they arrive at the plush surroundings of the Stadium of Light. Manager - and the man most likely to buy a sports bar in Majorca post-retirement - Gareth Ainsworth is playing the whole “little Wycombe” line in preparation for Saturday’s game.

In a cliche-laden interview on the club’s official website, Ainsworth described the game as “still David against Goliath” and was keen to stress “we’re still the David in this scenario”, in case you were in any way confused. And if you’re wondering, yes, he did crowbar a slingshot reference in the following sentence.

The Chairboys are expected to be with Dominic Gape, Curtis Thompson and Jack Grimmer who have returned to full fitness, while striker Fred Onywdinma could also make the squad.

Ainsworth added:

I make no bones about what a tough game this will be away at Sunderland, a real special occasion, with tens of thousands of fans roaring them on, and it’s an atmosphere that we will need to be ready for.

It’ll be an honour for me to be taking Wycombe Wanderers to such a huge club, and I’m sure I’ll have a little flutter in me as we walk through the front door. There might be some fans who try to turn this game on its head and suggest we’re now the bigger club because of where we are in the league, but I have nothing but respect for everyone at Sunderland.

Tranmere Rovers v Wycombe Wanderers - Sky Bet League One Photo by Lewis Storey/Getty Images

Match Stats

Venue: Stadium of Light, Sunderland
Kick-off: 3pm
Referee: Andy Davies
Current position: 1st
Last season position: 17th (League One)

Last 5 results:

SAFC

(L1) Lincoln City (H) 3-1
(L1) Fleetwood Town (A) 1-1
(L1) Doncaster Rovers (A) 2-1
(L1) Bolton Wanderers (H) 0-0
(L1) Blackpool (H) 1-1

WWFC

(L1) Ipswich Town (H) 1-1
(L1) Coventry City (H) 1-4
(L1) Portsmouth (A) 0-2
(L1) Oxford United (A) 0-1
(L1) Burton Albion (H) 2-0

The Chairboys on Wearside

17 Nov 2018 (L1) Sunderland 1-1 Wycombe Wanderers (Maja)

Top goalscorers (in all competitions)

7 - Adebayo Akinfenwa
7 - Joe Jacobson
4 - Scott Kashket
4 - Fred Onyedinma
3 - David Wheeler

Oxford United v Wycombe Wanderers - Sky Bet League One Photo by Charlie Crowhurst/Getty Images

Last Time We Met

A 1-1 draw where Josh Maja bailed out Sunderland was a common theme throughout the 2018/19 campaign. However, the visit of Wycombe Wanderers in November 2018 will be remembered for just one thing.

Take it away, David!