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Match Preview: Sunderland v Ipswich Town

Sunderland return to Wearside hoping to put a promotion candidate to the sword. Will a win against faltering Ipswich Town provide the spark for a late-season run?

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

Ah, Phil Parkinson’s Sunderland aren’t the all-conquering promotion machine we had momentarily thought. Last weekend’s disappointing defeat to Portsmouth puts the forthcoming fixtures into much more focus. The Lads face a series of tough tests against clubs eyeing the dreamland of being bodied into submission every week by Blackburn Rovers next season.

Ipswich Town arrive at the Stadium of Light currently occupying one of the much-coveted play-off positions but endured a similarly harrowing weekend last time out, losing 4-1 at home to Peterborough United. If Sunderland have genuine automatic promotion ambitions, a win against the Tractor Boys is an absolute must.

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

Parky Says...

We are ready for the challenge that lays ahead, it is an exciting one, it will take an almighty effort. We have to earn them and have to make sure that come the summer we can look back and say we took every chance to gain promotion.

Recently it has been up and down for them [Ipswich], I think they will be three at the back. We know most of the players and they are a very competitive team. First of all, the games come thick and fast, that is why we recruited players into the building.

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

Team News

Defender Joel Lynch will miss out Saturday’s game with a head injury, after being involved in an almighty clattering at Portsmouth. Parkinson also confirmed that striker Charlie Wyke could be a doubt after going off with a shoulder injury at Fratton Park. The big man’s absence could mean a starting berth for new signing Kyle Lafferty, who has yet to make the first XI since his arrival.

Sunderland Unveil New Signing Kyle Lafferty Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

View From The Opposition

After threatening to run away with the title in the early part of the season, Ipswich have been dragged down to the turgid underbelly of this absolute hellscape of a division. The Tractor Boys endured a torrid winter, surrendering top spot and going without a league win between late-November and mid-January.

Paul Lambert’s side arrive at the Stadium of Light on the back of two punishing defeats to promotion rivals Rotherham and Peterborough, and will no doubt be desperate to return to winning ways on Wearside. Wing-back Gwion Edwards is suspended for the trip up north which opens the door for former Accrington Stanley loanee Janoi Donacien to step into the breach.

Speaking to the club’s official website, Donacien spoke of his excitement ahead of the game before getting confused as to Stanley’s visit to the SOL last February:

They’re [Sunderland] a big club just like us and they’ll be ready for it on Saturday. So will we. With Gwion being out I might get a look-in and these are the games I want to be playing in. I’ve always said wherever the gaffer wants me to play, I’ll do it to the best of my ability. The team is what matters.

We won at the Stadium of Light when I was on loan at Accrington last season [you didn’t, Janoi], so I’d love to repeat that. We know it’ll be tough, though, because they’re a big team and they’ll be up for it.

It’s an opportunity for us to start winning games again and we’re looking forward to it.

Janoi Donacien of Ipswich Town in action during the Sky Bet... Photo by Richard Calver/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Match Stats

Venue: Stadium of Light, Sunderland
Kick-off: 3pm
Referee: Jeremy Simpson
Current position: 4th
Last season position: 24th (Championship)

Last 5 results:

SAFC

(L1) Portsmouth (A) 0-2
(L1) Tranmere Rovers (A) 1-0
(L1) Doncaster Rovers (H) 0-0
(L1) MK Dons (A) 1-0
(L1) Wycombe Wanderers (H) 4-0

ITFC

(L1) Peterborough United (H) 1-4
(L1) Rotherham United (A) 0-1
(L1) Lincoln City (H) 1-0
(L1) Tranmere Rovers (A) 2-1
(L1) Oxford United (A) 0-0

The Tractor Boys on Wearside

03 Feb 2018 (CH) Sunderland 0-2 Ipswich Town
13 Jan 2007 (CH) Sunderland 1-0 Ipswich Town (Connolly)
21 Nov 2004 (CH) Sunderland 2-0 Ipswich Town (Elliott, Brown)
30 Sep 2003 (D1) Sunderland 3-2 Ipswich Town (Breen, Oster, Kyle)
18 Aug 2001 (PL) Sunderland 1-0 Ipswich Town (Phillips)

Top goalscorers (in all competitions)

11 - James Norwood
9 - Kayden Jackson
6 - Luke Garbutt
4 - Will Keane
2 - Flynn Downes

Ipswich Town v Lincoln City - Sky Bet League One Photo by Andrew Vaughan - CameraSport via Getty Images

Last Time We Met

It’s almost two years to the day that Ipswich last ventured to the Stadium of Light. What they found was a demoralised team, coupled with a disillusioned fanbase furious with an absent owner, SO IT’S GOOD THAT THINGS HAVE CHANGED, EY?!

Mick McCarthy’s side couldn’t have asked for an easier afternoon as two first-half goals sent the Tractor Boys back to Suffolk with all three points. Meanwhile, Sunderland boss Chris Coleman was probably telling random passers-by how many children he’d sired.

Sunderland v Ipswich Town - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images