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Match Preview: Sunderland v Plymouth Argyle - all you need to know ahead of kick-off!

It’s our successive third home game this afternoon as we take on promotion hopefuls Plymouth Argyle at the Stadium of Light. Here’s all you need to know ahead of kick-off!

Photo by Alex Dodd - CameraSport via Getty Images

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Saturday 11th December 2021

(4th) Sunderland v Plymouth Argyle (5th)

Sky Bet League One

Stadium of Light

Kick-Off: 15:00

Tickets & Match Coverage

Tickets: Tickets are available here.

TV/Stream: Full live match coverage available via to residents outside the UK and Ireland, Channel Islands and Isle of Man only.

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...

It’s getting tight at the top of League One this season with only six points separating the top seven sides in the division. Any slip-up now would lose vital ground on those around us ahead of a period in which we play five games in 15 days.

But, despite the current injury problems and punishing schedule, we should have our tails up after an impressive 5-0 win over Morecambe in midweek, which followed a much-improved performance in the second half against Oxford on Saturday.

Selecting the same starting XI for successive fixtures has been a rarity for a variety of reasons under Lee Johnson, but barring any knocks since Tuesday evening we could see the same starting team for a third game in a row.

With the current form and management situation at Plymouth Argyle, Lee Johnson will be looking to take full advantage and take maximum points from a side sitting two points and one place behind in the table – especially with a potential reward of going top of the table by 5pm this afternoon if other results go our way.

Sunderland v Morecambe - Sky Bet League 1 Photo by Will Matthews/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Even though we’re still to reach the midway point of the current campaign, it’s already been a huge season for the Pilgrims. Ryan Lowe had had a successful first two years in charge at Home Park where he had returned the club to League One and then survived the drop last year when they finished 18th.

From the outside it appeared that it would be much of the same this year, and a mid-table finish would be seen as improvement– but as it turned out, Plymouth were one of the early leaders in League One.

They were consistently sitting in an automatic promotion position throughout October and early November, but their victory at Accrington Stanley on 13th November was their last win on the books. Three defeats and a draw since then has seen Plymouth slip to 5th in the table and looking for form.

But the events of the last week has complicated matters. On Tuesday of this week, manager Ryan Lowe resigned from his role at Plymouth and took charge of Championship side Preston North End. Lowe’s assistant at Plymouth, Steven Schumacher, immediately stepped into the vacant position and may provide continuity to keep any promotion challenge on track.

Milton Keynes Dons v Plymouth Argyle - Sky Bet League One
Plymouth Argyle manager Steven Schumacher
Photo by Pete Norton/Getty Images

League One Form...

The betting...

The Lads are 5/6 favourites to take all three points today, while an away win for Plymouth is priced at 3/1 and the draw is 13/5.

In terms of correct score, the bookies expect a tight game with a 1-1 draw priced at 5/1 favourite, with a 1-0 and 2-1 victories for the Lads close behind at 13/2 and 15/2 respectively, and a more comfortable 2-0 at 8/1.

Plymouth taking maximum points via the only goal of the game is priced at 10/1, with 2-1 at 11/1 and a more convincing 2-0 at a lengthier 18/1.

Head to head... in Sunderland

(At Roker Park/Stadium of Light in all competitions)

  • Sunderland wins: 13
  • Draws: 1
  • Plymouth Argyle wins: 3
  • Sunderland goals: 40
  • Plymouth Argyle goals: 15

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

Tuesday 19th January 2021

Sky Bet League One

Sunderland 1-2 Plymouth Argyle

[O’Brien 51’ - Lewis 11’, Edwards 56’]

Sunderland: Burge, Sanderson, Willis (Power), Wright, McFadzean (Embleton), Diamond, Scowen, Winchester (Leadbitter), McGeady (Maguire), O’Brien, Wyke Substitutes not used: Matthews, Younger, O’Nien

Plymouth Argyle: Cooper, Edwards, Lewis (Reeves), Aimson, Opoku, Watts, Grant, Fornah (Wooten), Jephcott (Ennis), Hardie (Nouble), Mayor Substitutes not used: McCormick, Tomlinson, Telford

Sunderland v Plymouth Argyle - Sky Bet League 1
Sunderland attack from a corner the last time the two sides met back in January
Photo by Mark Fletcher/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Played for both...

Mick Horswill

After winning the FA Cup winner with Sunderland in 1973, Horswill eventually signed for Plymouth after spending a year at Manchester City in 1975. The midfielder made over 100 appearances on the south coast before he signed for Hull City in 1978.

FA Cup Final - Sunderland v Leeds United
Mick Horswill gets stuck into Billy Bremner during the 1973 FA Cup final
Photo by Bob Thomas Sports Photography via Getty Images

Michael Heathcote

Signed from Spennymoor United by Denis Smith in 1987, Heathcote made ten appearances for the Lads before leaving in 1990 for Shrewsbury Town for £55,000. He made over 200 appearances for The Pilgrims between 1995-2001, where the defender helped Argyle to promotion from the Third Division in his first season.

Soccer - Nationwide League Division Three - Peterborough United v Plymouth Argyle
Heathcote in action for the Pilgrims
Photo by Jed Leicester/EMPICS via Getty Images


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