Sunderland v Hull City
Sky Bet League One
Stadium of Light
Kick-Off: 7.45pm - Saturday 9th January 2021
TV/Stream: Full live match coverage available via Sky Sports and also www.safc.com to season card holders that have activated access to coverage of all games played behind closed doors.
Radio: Full live match commentary available via BBC Newcastle (not online)
Sunderland and Hull City have managed to get the show back on the road this weekend as they reschedule the fixture that was originally scheduled as Boxing Day entertainment.
Lee Johnson’s side looked rusty at Northampton Town as they began 2021 with a disappointing goalless draw, which worryingly did not show any improvement in the final third. A good run of form is desperately needed if Sunderland are to keep pace with the promotion pack as we sit three points outside of the play-offs and eight behind Hull City who occupy second place behind Lincoln City.
Grant McCann’s Hull City started 2021 with a much-needed 2-0 victory over Charlton Athletic. Despite riding high in the top two, December saw a run of one win in five as they lost their last three of 2020 before fixture cancellations meant they were on an enforced break from the 18th December.
With a chance to put the bad run behind them after victory over the Addicks, they can now once again concentrate on keeping tabs on the League leaders as they sit four points behind with a game in hand.
Sunderland Team News
It’s difficult to know how COVID has impacted the fitness of the players and whether some are feeling it longer term, while it’s also tricky to assess the fitness of the likes of Denver Hume and Luke O’Nien.
Rotation might also be a consideration for Lee Johnson as he will no doubt look at the merits of Jordan Willis and a different option up top after looking toothless against the Cobblers.
Possible XI: Lee Burge, Dion Sanderson, Bailey Wright, Tom Flanagan, Conor McLaughlin, Grant Leadbitter, Max Power, Josh Scowen, Jack Diamond, Aiden McGeady, Danny Graham
Hull City Team News
After breaking a poor run in December with an impressive win over play-off chasing Charlton Athletic, it would be a surprise if Grant McCann shuffles his pack to visit the Stadium of Light unless injury dictates otherwise.
Josh Magennis is still ruled out with a hamstring injury that he suffered on the training ground at the beginning of December, and which is likely to rule him out until February.
Although this is a blow as he has seven goals to his name this season, Mallik Wilks has taken on that role and is one away from double figures for the season.
Possible XI: George Long, Josh Emmanuel, Alfie Jones, Jacob Greaves, Brandon Fleming, Richie Smallwood, Greg Docherty, George Honeyman, Hakeeb Adelakun, Mallik Wilks, Tom Eaves
Last Time We Met... at the Stadium of Light
Saturday 5th September 2020: League Cup 1st Round
Sunderland 0 - 0 Hull City (Hull City won 5-4 on penalties)
Sunderland: Burge, Willis, Wright, Flanagan, O’Nien, Power, Dobson, Hume, Maguire (Gooch), O’Brien (Wyke), Grigg Substitutes not used: Matthews, Feeney, Leadbitter, Scowen, Neil
Hull City: Ingram, Emmanuel, Fleming, Smallwood, Burke, De Wijs, Docherty, Samuelson, Eaves (Lewis-Potter), Honeyman, Wilks Substitutes not used: Cartwright, Jones, McLoughlin, Sheaf, Batty, Berry
Played for Both...
Burst onto the scene as a 19-year-old in 1999, memorably scoring an equaliser at the Riverside against Bryan Robson’s Middlesbrough. Played five games for Hull in 2001 scoring four goals.
A legend at both clubs after making around 600 appearances between the two clubs. One of my favourite ever Sunderland goalkeepers.
Kilbane isn’t remembered as fondly on Wearside as he is at his other former clubs, which include Hull City, where he made over 50 appearances between 2009-2012.
Head to Head... Hull City at Sunderland
In League competition only...
Sunderland wins: 11
Hull wins: 6
Goals for Sunderland: 25
Goals for Hull: 15
The bookies see Sunderland as favourites, but for once it’s not odds-on at 11/8, with an away victory priced at 21/10, and the draw at 9/4.
Charlie Wyke is once again favourite to open the scoring for Sunderland at 4/1, closely followed by Will Grigg and Chris Maguire at 5/1.
If like me you fancy the goalless draw, that is on offer at 15/2.
Considering the short notice will we be fit and prepared after our proposed lay off? Hull returned to winning ways after their two weeks off over the festive season and will be looking to cement their automatic promotion credentials.
It has the feeling of a tight game that might take a single goal to win it, so I’m backing nobody to get it and we play out a second successive stalemate.
Sunderland 0 - 0 Hull City