It has been announced today that this weekend Sunderland will play promotion-seeking Hull City in the League 1 fixture that was originally scheduled to be played on Boxing Day 2020. The game will now be played on Saturday 9th January at 7.45pm at the Stadium of Light and, in a boon to fans, will be shown live on Sky Sports.
Roker Report understands that both clubs have been in discussion about the move over the last couple of days, with the EFL sanctioning the arrangement on Wednesday morning.
Lee Johnson had been making preparations for the team’s next fixture to be the EFL Trophy match against Port Vale on Tuesday 12th January, but the gap in the fixture list created by Sunderland’s game at Fleetwood being called off for the second time due to covid-19 outbreaks will now be filled with a crucial match against one of the division’s strongest sides.
The hastily rearranged game will go a small way toward alleviating fears that fixture congestion later in the year could see the season being extended, and points towards the EFL being willing to show a little creativity and flexibility in how they allow clubs to fulfil their outstanding fixtures.
Despite a string of defeats over Christmas, Grant McCann’s Hull City returned to winning ways last Saturday with a 2-0 win over Charlton Athletic and currently sit second in the table four points behind leaders Lincoln City and two ahead of the chasing pack. Their promotion push has been aided in no small part by the excellent form of ex-Sunderland captain George Honeyman, and this will be his second return to the Stadium of Light following their 5-4 victory on penalties following a nil-nil draw in the League Cup back in September.
Sunderland will look to improve upon the lacklustre performance against Northampton Town last weekend, and move themselves back within touching distance of the playoff places with a win against the Tigers.