Lincoln City v Sunderland
Sky Bet League One
Kick-Off: 3.00pm - Saturday 12th December 2020
TV/Stream: Full live match coverage available via www.safc.com
Radio: Full live match commentary available via BBC Newcastle (not online)
Regardless of the competition, Lee Johnson recorded his all important first victory as Sunderland manager in midweek and will be determined to build on it. The Black Cats are desperate for a good run to keep in touch with the top-six.
Using the form book as reference, a victory at Sincil Bank would be some achievement for Lee Johnson as Sunderland have not recorded a victory in League One since beating Ipswich Town on the 3rd November.
Last season’s trip to Lincoln was the first in League competition since the 1960-61 season and was also Jack Ross’ final game in charge of Sunderland.
Michael Appleton’s Lincoln are one of the form sides in League One after a third of the season is complete, winning their last three successive games. They currently sit second, only two points behind Hull City with a defensive record that equates to conceding only a single goal every three games.
After promotion in 2018-19, Appleton has managed to keep the progression rolling after the departure of Danny Cowley in September 2019, by finishing mid-table as the remaining fixtures were abandoned last term and a flying start to the current season.
Sunderland Team News
It appears Lee Johnson is going for 4-3-3 if his first two games are anything to go by and it would be a surprise if he went with a different formation at Sincil Bank.
It will be a big call to leave McGeady out after last week’s performance and possibly an even bigger call to leave Jack Diamond on the bench after impressing midweek. My guess is that Chris Maguire is the man to make way.
Possible XI: Lee Burge, Conor McLaughlin, Bailey Wright, Tom Flanagan, Callum McFadzean, Grant Leadbitter, Max Power, Josh Scowen, Jack Diamond, Aiden McGeady, Will Grigg
Lincoln City Team News
Michael Appleton made six changes for the Papa John’s Trophy tie during the week, where they defeated Shrewsbury 4-1 away from home. They have also won the last three fixtures in League One so many of those players will likely return to the side.
Possible XI: Palmer; Eyoma, Montsma, Walsh, Melbourne; McGrandles, Jones, Grant; Anderson, Hopper, Johnson
Last Time We Met... at the Sincil Bank
Saturday 5th October 2019: Sky Bet League One
Lincoln City 2 - 0 Sunderland (Walker 18’, 59’)
Sunderland: J. McLaughlin, C. McLaughlin, Willis, Lynch, De Bock (Grigg), Maguire (McNulty), Power, McGeouch, Gooch (McGeady), O’Nien, Wyke Substitutes not used: Burge, Flanagan, Leadbitter, Dobson
Lincoln City: Vickers, Eardley, Toffolo, O’Connor (Connolly), Bolger, Shackell, Andrade (Hesketh), Morrell, Walker, Payne, Grant Substitutes not used: Smith, Melbourne, Chapman, Anderson, Akinde
The bookies see this as a close one, with Sunderland at 13/8, and a home victory priced at 9/5, the draw, which many might fancy, is priced at 21/10.
For a correct score, a one-all draw is the favourite at 9/2, and a Lincoln victory by a single goal and a goalless draw are both 13/2. Sunderland to get the only goal of the game and win 1-0 is priced at 11/2 and a repeat of the midweek 2-1 to Lee Johnson’s side is priced at 17/2.
Lincoln are a form side in League One, and Sunderland have one the worst sequence of results in recent games in the division, yet I still fancy us to avoid defeat. Is that just hope or is that sign of improvement in the one whole week Lee Johnson has been in charge?
Lincoln City 1 - 1 Sunderland