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Sunderland v Tranmere Rovers - Papa John’s Trophy Final

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Match Preview: Can the Lads make it three wins from three in the Papa John’s Trophy?

We’ve already qualified out of the group and aim to keep our 100% record so far in the Papa John’s Trophy - here’s everything you need to know ahead of kick-off!

Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

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Tuesday 9th November 2021

(L1) Sunderland v Bradford City (L2)

Papa John’s Trophy

Northern Group F

Stadium of Light

Kick-Off: 19:00

Tickets & Match Coverage

Tickets: Tickets are available online via SAFC here.

TV/Stream: Full live match coverage available via

Radio: Full live match commentary available via BBC Radio Newcastle (not online)

Don’t forget to follow the blow-by-blow account of the game on the Roker Report Twitter feed (@RokerReport) and check out the player ratings after the full-time whistle at!

The build-up...

Tonight’s game is a strange fixture - on one hand, it’s a fairly meaningless game seeing as we are already through to the next round following victories over Manchester United U21s and Lincoln City, but on the other hand, any game at the moment has amplified significance.

Lee Johnson’s starting eleven may provide a signal to his outlook on the tie in terms of using it to provide valuable experience to players from the U23s or field a strong side to get a result and begin to rebuild confidence.

Derek Adams’ Bradford City side are in a similar position, except they know they cannot qualify from the group stage, and after one win in the last six in all competitions has seen the Bantams slip down to mid-table and a win could be a much-needed boost to return to League form.

It will be a very different atmosphere to the last time the two sides last met at the Stadium of Light when over 46,000 witnessed a 1-0 victory to Sunderland on Boxing Day 2018. It was an Aiden McGeady winner that gave Sunderland all three points on that occasion and for Bradford's success, we have to look to 2000 for their only victory on Wearside in the last 30 years.

Sunderland AFC v Mansfield Town: Emirates FA Cup First Round
Lee Johnson
Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

The Rules...

Full competition rules can be found here, the following rules govern those of team selection:

Each EFL Club shall play its Full Available Strength in and during all Matches. Full Available Strength means the EFL Club must include at least four Qualifying Players in the ten outfield Players named in the starting eleven on the Team Sheet.

Qualifying Player means any Player who:

  • Had started the immediately preceding First Team Fixture (as defined below);
  • Subsequently starts the immediately following First Team Fixture;
  • Is in the list of ten Players at the Club with the highest number of starting appearances in First Team Fixtures* in the same Season;
  • Has made forty or more starting appearances in First Team Fixtures* or international equivalents (and not limited to the same Club or Season); or
  • Is on standard loan from a Premier League Club or any EFL Club operating a Category One Academy.

First Team Fixture means the League Competition, Premier League, EFL Cup or FA Challenge Cup (but shall, in the context of specified Rules*, also include this Competition).

Form guide...

(League One and League Two only)

The betting...

Even without knowing what side either manager will field, Sunderland are 8/13 favourites with Bradford a longer 4/1 and the draw 5/2.

In terms of correct score, a 1-1 draw is favourite at 11/2, followed by a 1-0 home win at 6/1 with a 2-0 and 2-1 victory for the Lads at 7/1.

Head to head...

(At the Stadium of Light in all competitions)

  • Sunderland wins: 8
  • Draws: 9
  • Bradford City wins: 4
  • Sunderland goals: 22
  • Bradford City goals: 12

Last time we met... at the Stadium of Light

Wednesday 26th December 2018

Sky Bet League One

Sunderland 1-0 Bradford City

(McGeady 31’)

Sunderland: McLaughlin, O’Nien, Flanagan, Baldwin, Oviedo, Gooch (Wyke), Cattermole, Power, McGeady, Maguire (McGeouch), Maja (Watmore) Substitutes not used: Ruiter, James, Ozturk, Sinclair

Bradford City: O’Donnell, Caddis, Chicksen (O’Connor, L. O’Brien, Knight-Percival, McGowan, Payne, Akpan (Brunker), Doyle (J. O’Brien), Miller, Ball Substitutes not used: Wilson, Wood, Devine, Goldthorp

Attendance: 46,039

Sunderland v Bradford City - Sky Bet League One
Aiden McGeady scores the winner the last time we faced Bradford at the Stadium of Light
Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Played for both...

Chris Waddle

Waddle became one of the best players in the world in the years after leaving Newcastle for Spurs in 1985. He became the third most expensive player in the world when Marseille took him to France for £4.5million in 1989.

Sheffield Wednesday and Trevor Francis brought him back to England at the age of 32 for £1million in 1992. After four years he was released and after brief spells with Falkirk and Bradford City, joined Sunderland in our bid to survive relegation from the Premier League on deadline day 1997.

Enlgish Soccer - FA Cup 5th Round - Bradford City v Sheffield Wednesday Photo by Neal Simpson/EMPICS via Getty Images


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