clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Match Preview: Sunderland vs Bristol Rovers

The automatic promotion places are in sight. Can Sunderland slay mid-ranking Bristol Rovers to claim four league wins on the bounce?

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

Well, who’da thought it. Sunderland find themselves within striking distance of the automatic promotion places after a tremendous run of form. The Lads have not only forgotten how to concede goals but they’re also turning over the sorry states of jobbers that populate this hellscape of a division.

Next up to be put to the sword are Bristol Rovers, a sorry state of jobbers that occupy the nether regions of this hellscape division. Should the Lads make it four wins on the spin, and results go their way, they could finish the day level on points with leaders Rotherham, and wouldn’t that be nice?

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

Parky Says...

Everyone is on good runs, we have to concentrate on ourselves. I was very pleased with the result at Oxford and how we trained so far this week.

Oxford United v Bolton Wanderers - Sky Bet League One Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images

Team News

With Bailey Wright ruled out for potentially the rest of the campaign, Saturday is set to see the long-awaited return of Big Alim. Ozturk has been kept out of the team since Wright’s arrival but the Australian’s busted ankle ligaments will see that cheeky face return to the starting line-up. Joel Lynch is also available again after a few weeks out.

Sunderland v Blackpool - Sky Bet League One Photo by Alex Dodd - CameraSport via Getty Images

View From The Opposition

After briefly threatening to challenge for an unexpected play-off position, Bristol Rovers are back in the comfortable surroundings of mid-table after a hilariously poor run of form over the festive period. The Gas failed to win in 11 games, after vanquishing Ipswich Town on December 14th, enjoying a delightful slide down the table.

They kicked off 2020 by failing to score in five league matches, but finally ended their turgid run with home win over Blackpool last time out. They are heavily reliant on striker Jonson Clarke-Harris, who has bagged 14 goals in all competitions, so if they are to come away from the Stadium of Light with anything, a lot will rest on the 25-year-old’s shoulders.

Wycombe Wanderers v Bristol Rovers - Sky Bet League One - Adams Park Photo by Daniel Hambury/EMPICS/PA Images via Getty Images

Match Stats

Venue: Stadium of Light, Sunderland
Kick-off: 3pm
Referee: Ben Toner
Current position: 13th
Last season position: 17th (League One)

Last 5 results:

SAFC

(L1) Oxford United (A) 1-0
(L1) Rochdale (H) 3-0
(L1) Ipswich Town (H) 1-0
(L1) Portsmouth (A) 0-2
(L1) Tranmere Rovers (A) 1-0

BRFC

(L1) Blackpool (H) 2-1
(L1) Tranmere Rovers (A) 0-0
(L1) Wycombe Wanderers (A) 1-3
(L1) Coventry City (H) 1-2
(L1) Bolton Wanderers (A) 1-1

The Gas on Wearside

15 Dec 2018 (L1) Sunderland 2-1 Bristol Rovers (Matthews, Maja)
26 Sep 1992 (D1) Sunderland 1-1 Bristol Rovers (Byrne)
26 Oct 1991 (D2) Sunderland 1-1 Bristol Rovers (Bennett)
22 Aug 1987 (D3) Sunderland 1-1 Bristol Rovers (Lemon)
24 Nov 1979 (D2) Sunderland 3-2 Bristol Rovers (Elliott, Cummins, Robson)

Top goalscorers (in all competitions)

14 - Jonson Clarke-Harris
5 - Tyler Smith
3 - Tony Craig
3 - Tom Nichols
3 - Abu Ogogo

Bristol Rovers v Coventry City - Sky Bet League One - Memorial Stadium Photo by Bradley Collyer/EMPICS/PA Images via Getty Images

Last Time We Met

In equally terrible weather we’re expecting on Saturday, the last time the Gasheads ventured to these parts it was blowing a hoolie. The guests took a surprising lead before club legends Adam Matthews and Josh Maja, got gorgeous Jack Ross yet another victory.

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