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Match Preview: Oldham Athletic v Sunderland

An opportunity for new manager Lee Johnson to see his squad in action as Sunderland travel to Greater Manchester for the EFL Trophy second round tie at Oldham Athletic. Here is everything you need to know before kick-off!

Oldham Athletic v Scunthorpe United - Sky Bet League Two Photo by Visionhaus

Oldham Athletic v Sunderland

Papa John’s Trophy, Round Two

Boundary Park

Kick-Off: 6.00pm – Tuesday 8th December, 2020

Match Coverage

TV/Stream: Full live match coverage available via

Radio: Full live match commentary available via BBC Newcastle (not online)

Don’t forget to follow the blow-by-blow account of the game on the Roker Report Twitter feed (@RokerReport) and check out the player ratings after the game at!

Although this competition already feels like it’s been going on for ever, there is still round three to go in the new year before the quarter-finals, should we successfully negotiate an away tie at League Two Oldham Athletic.

Due to the appointment of Lee Johnson as the new Sunderland manager only hours ahead of kick-off at the weekend, it may be one of the few times we actually welcome a fixture in this competition. Its timing provides a free-hit to the new man in charge to take a look at more players outside the pressures of League One, and to present an opportunity to create a winning habit.

Oldham Athletic came through a group containing Wolverhampton Wanderers U21s, Bradford City and our League One rivals, Doncaster Rovers, where they defied their mid-table League Two form by comfortably beating all three on route to Round Two.

Harry Kewell’s side are in good form going into the tie, winning four of the last five in all competitions, and will be looking to continue their good run to push for a play-off place where they sit five points adrift.

Also, to help us guess at who Lee Johnson might offer an opportunity to in his second game as manager, let’s remind ourselves of the EFL Trophy competition rules...

Sunderland v Wigan Athletic - Sky Bet League One
Lee Johnson
Photo by Ian Horrocks/Getty Images

EFL Trophy Rules

Any eligible goalkeeper from the club can play in the competition.

A club must play four qualifying players from the 10.

A qualifying player must meet one of the following criteria:

- A player who started the previous of following first team fixture.

- Any player who is in the top ten players at the club who have made the most starting appearances in the League and domestic cup competitions that season.

- Any player with 40 or more first team appearances in their career.

- Any player currently on loan from a Premier League or Category One Academy Club.

Only two players over the age of 21 who have made 40 or more senior appearances can be selected to play for Academy sides.

Sunderland Team News

No doubt Lee Johnson will be relishing a return to where it all started for him in terms of his managerial career in 2013, just as much as he will be itching to see what a rotated XI have to offer.

That is, if he is going to rotate the squad. He may opt to tinker with the side that turned out at the Stadium of Light against Wigan Athletic in order to inject some much needed confidence. For once in the EFL Trophy, in could be an interesting evening.

Possible XI: Matthews, Sanderson, McLaughlin, Flanagan, McFadzean, Dobson, Power, Neil, Diamond, Embleton, Graham

Sunderland v Burton Albion - Sky Bet League One
Will Elliot Embleton make the starting XI for Sunderland’s trip to Oldham Athletic in the EFL Trophy?
Photo by Ian Horrocks/Getty Images

Oldham Athletic Team News

Despite poor home form in League Two, Harry Kewell’s Latics have been victorious in all of their home games in cup competitions. Look out for ex-Sunderland youth product Davis Keillor-Dunn who swapped Wearside for Greater Manchester last summer.

Possible XI: Bilboe, Hamer, Piergianni, Sutton, Barnett, Bahamboula, Grant, Whelan, Keillor-Dunn, Dearnley, Blackwood

Oldham Athletic v Tranmere Rovers - Sky Bet League Two
Harry Kewell
Photo by Charlotte Tattersall/Getty Images

Last Time We Met... at Boundary Park

Tuesday 12th March 1996

Endsleigh League Division One

Oldham Athletic 1 - 2 Sunderland (Richardson 44’ - M. Gray 11’, Ball 86’)

Sunderland: Given, Kubicki, Ord, Howey, Scott, Agnew, Ball, Bracewell, M. Gray, Russell, Stewart Substitutes not used: P. Gray, Bridges, Hall

Oldham Athletic: Gerrard, Snodin, Makin, Hughes, Fleming, Redmond, Halle, Richardson, McCarthy, Barlow, Gannon Substitutes not used: Hallworth, Graham, Beresford

Attendance: 7,149

Leicester City v Sunderland
Michael Gray scored Sunderland’s opening goal the last time Sunderland faced Oldham at Boundary Park in 1996
Photo by Barrington Coombs/EMPICS via Getty Images


EFL Trophy fixtures are hard enough to predict without taking into consideration changes in management and two sides who are, at best, unpredictable. Despite Oldham being a League below, I think it could be tight and I’ll go for Sunderland to win with the only goal of the game.

Oldham Athletic 0 - 1 Sunderland

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