(8th) Sunderland v Plymouth Argyle (15th)
Sky Bet League One
Stadium of Light
Kick-Off: 7.00pm - Tuesday 19th January 2021
TV/Stream: Full live match coverage available via www.safc.com
Radio: Full live match commentary available via BBC Newcastle (not online)
Lee Johnson is beginning to build some momentum at the Stadium of Light. The ex-Oldham Athletic boss hasn’t suffered defeat in his new role in the Sunderland hot seat since going down to Wigan Athletic by a single goal, only hours after taking charge.
Disappointing draws have been the negative side to a COVID-19 affected six weeks as Sunderland manager, and he will no doubt be focused on collecting all three points against newly-promoted Plymouth Argyle.
Building on the away victory at Plough Lane on Saturday will be seen as a must in our search to turn frustrating home draws into maximum points, and make ourselves a permanent fixture in the top six.
After finishing third in League Two last season after the application of points per game, Ryan Lowe’s side have held their own in League One this term. Their ranks include League One’s top scorer in 20-year-old Luke Jephcott, who has thirteen goals to his name already this season.
Sitting six points outside the relegation zone in 15th position, the Pilgrims have only suffered defeat once in the last five in League One, which came as welcome relief from losing the six successive fixtures leading up to their present run of form.
It’s been an up and down season so far for Argyle, and with Sunderland heavy favourites, they may be looking at this fixture as a perfect chance to record their first away victory of the season just when others least expect it.
League One Form Guide... last five games
Sunderland Team News
Taking into account that the move to an earlier kick-off time on Saturday was made so his squad could have more time to recover ahead of the visit of Plymouth Argyle, there could be a chance that Lee Johnson will go into the game with the same XI.
That said, he may also utilise the large squad at his disposal, and make a few changes to the side. Winchester may come in for his first start to take the strain from Grant Leadbitter after what was an even tie for the most part at Plough Lane.
Diamond may also come back into the starting line-up to add to our attacking options in the final third at home.
Possible XI: Burge, Power, Willis, Wright, McFadzean, Winchester, Scowen, Diamond, McGeady, O’Brien, Wyke
Plymouth Argyle Team News
The Pilgrims have taken advantage of the loan market, where five players have been added to the ranks after joining on loan.
Three are from Premier League sides in Timmy Abraham and Jerome Opoku from Fulham, and Kelland Watts from Newcastle United, who are joined by Tyrese Fornah from Nottingham Forest and Ryan Hardie from Blackpool. All five are likely to be in the starting line-up to face Sunderland.
Former England youth international Niall Ennis also signed on a two-and-a-half-year deal at Home Park yesterday, and may play some part.
Possible XI: Cooper, Aimson, Opoku, Watts, Fornah, Edwards, Mayor, Grant, Lewis, Jephcott, Hardie
Last Time We Met... at the Stadium of Light
Saturday 2nd March 2019:
Sky Bet League One
Sunderland 2 - 0 Plymouth Argyle (Cattermole 32’, Honeyman 87’)
Sunderland: J. McLaughlin, O’Nien, Flanagan, Dunne, James, Morgan (Watmore), Cattermole, Leadbitter, McGeady (Gooch), Honeyman, Grigg (Wyke) Substitute not used: Ruiter, Matthews, Ozturk, Power
Plymouth Argyle: Letheren (Macey), Threlkeld (Taylor), Sawyer, Songo’o, Edwards, Canavan, Smith-Brown, Fox, Ladapo, Lameiras (Anderson), Carey Substitute not used: Riley, Wooten, Jones, Ness
Played for Both...
Cup winner with Sunderland in 1973, Horswill signed for Plymouth after spending a year at Manchester City in 1975. The midfielder made over 100 appearances on the south coast before he signed for Hull City in 1978.
Signed from Spennymoor United in 1987, Heathcote would only make ten appearances for the Lads before leaving in 1990 for Shrewsbury Town for £55,000. Made over 200 appearances for The Pilgrims between 1995-2001, where the defender helped Argyle to promotion from the Third Division in his first season.
Current defender Tom Flanagan had a spell on loan at Plymouth Argyle in 2015 when he signed for a month whilst on the books at MK Dons. The Northern Ireland international made four appearances at home park before returning to his parent club.
Head to Head... Plymouth Argyle at Sunderland
In all competitions...
Sunderland wins: 13
Plymouth Argyle wins: 2
Goals for Sunderland: 39
Goals for Plymouth Argyle: 13
The bookies are backing Sunderland to continue where they left off at Plough Lane and have a home win priced at 4/7, with an away victory 5/1, and the draw at 29/10.
Man of the moment Charlie Wyke is the shortest odds to open the scoring for Sunderland at 3/1, closely followed by Chris Maguire at 7/2 and Jack Diamond at 9/2. If you fancy Wyke to score successive hat-tricks following on from AFC Wimbledon, this is on offer at 33/1.
A 1-0 Sunderland win is the shortest correct score at 4/1, and if you fancy yet another 3-0 win for the Lads, it is on offer at 9/1.
I feel like getting carried away after our result at AFC Wimbledon, and not predict a draw.
After reminding myself that the game was fairly even in South London at the weekend for the first eighty minutes, I have dampened my enthusiasm and will predict a routine two-goal victory without conceding.
Sunderland 2 - 0 Plymouth Argyle