Saturday 23rd January 2021
(9th) Sunderland v Shrewsbury Town (17th)
Sky Bet League One
Stadium of Light
TV/Stream: Full live match coverage available via www.safc.com
Radio: Full live match commentary available via BBC Newcastle (not online)
Sunderland need to go back to November 3rd to find the last time we recorded a home victory at the Stadium of Light in League One.
Since beating Paul Lamberts Ipswich Town 2-1 almost 12 weeks ago, Sunderland have picked up 3 out of a possible 18 points at home. If Lee Johnson can find a solution to the poor return at home this season whilst retaining the away form that has been keeping us afloat, we might well be in business.
The Sunderland manager will also be looking for a reaction to going down to Plymouth Argyle in midweek, which was Johnson’s first defeat since Wigan Athletic that came only hours after the ex-Oldham man taking the job. The seven games that followed saw us go undefeated and Sunderland will be looking to repeat that beginning with the visit of Shrewsbury Town
Former Sunderland assistant manager Steve Cotterill has steadied the ship at New Meadow taking over following the departure of Sam Ricketts in November. With six points from their opening nine games whilst occupying a place in the relegation zone, they now sit 17th with a three point gap to the bottom four with The Shrews having games in hand.
Their recent form in League One is up there with the best of them as the boast four wins and a draw in the last five. They have however, been impacted by COVID-19 and have not played a fixture in League One since December 29th, and with a defeat on their return to action at Southampton in the FA Cup in midweek, it will be interesting to see how they return to league action.
Assistant manager Aaron Wilbraham will continue to orchestrate from the sidelines in the absence of Steve Cotterill, who is recovering in hospital from COVID-19. All at Roker Report wish him all the best and a speedy recovery.
League One Form Guide... last five games
Sunderland Team News
Jordan Willis took a knock in midweek and although deemed fit, he will still be assessed before playing a part against Shrewsbury. Sanderson may slot directly into the middle alongside Wright if Willis reacts further to the injury.
At full-back O’Nien has come back into contention but still struggles to take throw-ins with his shoulder problem, so it’s likely Power and McFadzean will continue on either side of the back four.
Lee Johnson has a decision to make deciding between Leadbitter and Winchester in the middle who is expected to join Josh Scowen who has shown an improvement in form in recent games.
Lynden Gooch should be available again after Ipswich Town after a period of self-isolation following a positive COVID-19 test. Denver Hume, Will Grigg and Conor McLaughlin are still suffering from longer term injury problems.
Possible XI: Burge, Power, Sanderson, Wright, McFadzean, Winchester, Scowen, Diamond, McGeady, O’Brien, Wyke
Shrewsbury Town Team News
It’s difficult to predict how the Shrewsbury side react to their first game in over three weeks in midweek. They have a fully fit side to select from but may decide to rotate if players are feeling the return to action.
Expect a back three with wing backs, which will make it interesting to see the battle in the middle of the park with the away side having the extra man. Equally, Sunderland may look to exploit the flanks.
Possible XI: Sarkic, Golbourne, Pierre, Ebanks Landell, Pennington, Williams, Norburn, Vela, Chapman, Clarke, Udoh
Last Time We Met... at the Stadium of Light
Saturday 29th December 2018:
Sky Bet League One
Sunderland 1 - 1 Shrewsbury Town (Maja 44’ - Waterfall 30’)
Sunderland: J. McLaughlin, O’Nien, Flanagan, Baldwin, Oviedo (James), Gooch (Watmore), Cattermole, Power, McGeady, Maguire (Wyke), Maja Substitute not used: Ruiter, Ozturk, McGeouch, Sinclair
Shrewsbury Town: Arnold, Bolton, Haynes (Beckles), Grant, Sadler, Waterfall, Norburn, Laurent (Angol), Gilliead (Okenabirhie), John-Lewis, Docherty Substitute not used: Coleman, Emmanuel, Sears, Eisa
Played for Both...
Hampered by injuries at Sunderland after making his debut in 1995, the tricky winger wuold only make 24 appearances before signing for Shrewsbury after a spell on loan in 2000 in a deal worth £50,000. Made almost 200 appearances for Shrewsbury Town before leaving in 2005.
A £175,000 bargain signing by Mick McCarthy from Mansfield Town in 2004, Lawrence had three successful years at Sunderland with 80 appearances for the club before signing for Stoke City in 2007. The Republic of Ireland international made over 50 appearances for Shrewsbury towards the end of his career between 2014-2016.
Sunderland’s current full-back had a spell at the New Meadow in 2012 in a loan spell whilst on the books of Preston North End. The Northern Ireland international only made four appearances and will miss out on this fixture due to injury.
Head to Head... Shrewsbury Town at Sunderland
In all competitions...
Sunderland wins: 4
Shrewsbury Town wins: 0
Goals for Sunderland: 9
Goals for Shrewsbury Town: 4
Despite our slip up in midweek, the bookies are backing Sunderland for a home win at 3/4, with an away victory 19/5, and the draw at 5/2.
Sunderland’s top scorer Charlie Wyke is the shortest odds to open the scoring for Sunderland at 16/5, closely followed by Chris Maguire at 4/1 despite the fact most of his recent appearances have been from the bench, and Jack Diamond at 5/1.
Others that might offer a little more value are Aiden O’Brien and Aiden McGeady at 13/2 and Carl Winchester to open his account for the club at 9/1.
A 1-0 Sunderland win is the shortest correct score at 9/2, followed by a 1-1 at 11/2. A routine 2-0 home win is 6/1 and Shrewsbury are 9/1 to take all three points with the only goal of the game.
I hope to see a reaction from Sunderland after midweek, but more, somewhat enforced rotation in the starting XI may not help. Shrewsbury were on a good run of form and if they pick up where they left off we might not get it all our own way.
Sunderland 1 - 1 Shrewsbury Town