Oxford United v Sunderland - Sky Bet League One
Kick-Off: 3pm - Saturday 19th September, 2020
TV/Stream: Full live match coverage available via www.safc.com
Radio: Full live match commentary available via BBC Newcastle (not online)
After a disappointing draw on the opening day of the season against Bristol Rovers, Phil Parkinson finds himself still looking for a first win of the season with a tough trip to Oxford United.
Sunderland’s first away game of the League One campaign is the first of three successive games against opponents who all have expectations of top six finishes this season.
Oxford also come into the game under pressure to gain all three points, especially after last season’s defeated play-off semi-finalists were beaten 2-0 away at Lincoln City on the opening day. Although a good performance against Watford in the League Cup, where they were unlucky to lose on penalties in midweek, will give them confidence.
It all adds up to what will likely be a tense afternoon between two sides desperate for all three points.
Sunderland Team News
There is a lot of second guessing when it comes to Sunderland’s line-up this week. Who will replace George Dobson? Will he stick with the same forward line? Will the young lads get a place on the bench? And, will Xhemajli come in for his League One debut?
Knowing Parkinson as we do, I expect Josh Scowen coming in for George Dobson to be our only change from last week’s draw at the Stadium of Light.
Possible XI: Lee Burge, Tom Flanagan, Bailey Wright, Jordan Willis, Luke O’Nien, Josh Scowen, Max Power (c), Denver Hume, Chris Maguire, Aiden O’Brien, Will Grigg
Oxford United Team News
As the line-up for the midweek League Cup game against Watford proved, Oxford United have a big squad this season and their current injury list will mean it will come in handy.
Injuries to ex-Sunderland player Alex Gorrin, Josh Ruffels, Sam Winnall, Mark Sykes and John Mousinho gives manager Karl Robinson a few headaches leading up to this weekend’s clash.
Possible XI: Eastwood, Long, Moore, Atkinson,Clare,Brannagan, Kelly, McGuane, Agyei, Taylor, Henry
Last Time We Met...
Saturday 15th February, 2020: Sky Bet League One
Oxford United 0 - 1 Sunderland (Jordan Willis)
Sunderland: J. McLaughlin, Willis, Ozturk, Flanagan, O’Nien, Dobson, Power, Hume, Maguire (Watmore), Gooch (Semenyo), Wyke (Lafferty) Substitutes not used: Burge, C. McLaughlin, Smith, Scowen
Oxford United: Eastwood, Forde, Ruffels, Dickie, Mousinho, Moore, Henry (Mackie), Brannagan, Taylor, Agyei (Browne), Sykes (Holland) Substitutes not used: Stevens, Long, Thorne, Hanson
The bookmakers have the home as slight favourites at 6/4 with Sunderland at 9/5 to claim an away win. If you fancy a stalemate this weekend then a draw is 9/5.
Danny Graham is perhaps surprisingly favourite to get the opening goal at 9/2, closely followed by the man of the hour last week, Chris Maguire who is 5/1 to get the opener. For the home side, Matty Taylor is 4/1 to score the first goal.
Considering the pressure on both sides to get their first win of the season, I fully expect both sides to be so worried about losing that neither side will be fulfilled with a score draw.
Oxford United 1 - 1 Sunderland