Northampton Town v Sunderland
Sky Bet League One
PTS Academy Stadium
Kick-Off: 3.00pm - Saturday 2nd January 2021
TV/Stream: Full live match coverage available via www.safc.com
Radio: Full live match commentary available via BBC Newcastle (not online)
Sunderland return to League One action as 2021 begins with a fixture backlog that will likely stretch Lee Johnson’s squad to the limit. Last time out AFC Wimbledon took a point back to South London in unusual circumstances with Sunderland confirming positive test results for COVID-19 twenty-four hours later.
Due to the enforced break that Sunderland and many other League One clubs have had to endure, the table is a bit of a mess in terms of working out where things stand and which teams are still in action. But, Lee Johnson will be aware that his side have won one game in the last five in League One and a good run of form is vital as the games come thick and fast.
After finishing sixth in League Two at the point of abandonment during 2019/20, the Cobblers comfortably beat Exeter City in the play-off final to reach League One where they appear to be still finding their feet.
Keith Curle’s side have lost four out of the last five but did beat Gillingham 3-1 at home on the 29th December helping them to climb out of the relegation zone where they now hover in 19th.
It’s a first trip to Northampton Town for Sunderland since December 1987, where Sunderland came away with a 2-0 victory that was the beginning of a run of eight wins in the next nine games - that would do very nicely right now.
Sunderland Team News
Although it was an opportunity for injuries to clear it may have come to soon for Luke O’Nien and Denver Hume who will likely need more time to recover. It’s also difficult to know how Jordan Willis and Lynden Gooch have continued their progress in returning to fitness to make the first XI.
Possible XI: Lee Burge, Conor McLaughlin, Bailey Wright, Tom Flanagan, Callum McFadzean, Grant Leadbitter, Max Power, Josh Scowen, Jack Diamond, Aiden McGeady, Charlie Wyke
Northampton Town Team News
With a victory last time out against Gillingham after four straight defeats it would be a surprise if Keith Curle made too many changes to the XI that dragged them out of the bottom four.
Sam Hoskins in their main man from midfield with four goals to his name this season for the former Southampton youth player.
Possible XI: Mitchell, Jones, Bolger, Sheehan, McWilliams, Watson, Sowerby, Hoskins, Adams, Rose, Ashley-Seal
Last Time We Met... at the PTS Academy Stadium
Saturday 12th December 1987: Barclays League Division Three
Northampton Town 0 - 2 Sunderland (Lemon 58’, Gabbiadini 87’)
Sunderland: Hesford, Kay, Bennett, MacPhail, Agboola, Owers, Lemon, Doyle, Armstrong, Gates, Gabbiadini Substitutes not used: Gray, Bertschin
Shrewsbury Town: Gleasure, Reed (Singleton), Logan, Donald, Wilcox, McPherson, McGoldrick, Culpin, Gilbert (Longhurst), Morley, Chard
The bookies see Sunderland as clear favourites at 6/10, and an unfancied home victory priced at 9/2, with the draw at 29/10.
The usual suspects are out in front to open the scoring for Sunderland with Charlie Wyke favourite at 3/1, closely followed by Will Grigg at 10/3 and Chris Maguire at 7/2. If you fancy Bailey Wright to continue his goalscoring exploits he is on offer at 28/1 to open the scoring for Sunderland.
I’ve got a feeling we might be a bit rusty and it could be a slog that we just need to find a way to collect all three points - it might take a set-piece to break the deadlock.
Northampton Town 0 - 1 Sunderland