Monday 27th December 2021
(23rd) Doncaster Rovers v Sunderland (3rd)
Sky Bet League One
Tickets & Match Coverage
Tickets: Tickets are sold out.
TV/Stream: Full live match coverage available via Sky Sports.
Radio: Full live match commentary available via BBC Radio Newcastle (not online)
It’s a sign of the times, but Sunderland have played Doncaster Rovers in more fixtures in competitive competitions over the last three years as we had done in the 64 years before that since the first meeting between the two teams.
That first meeting was in an FA Cup third round tie back in 1954 and it ended up a 2-0 win to Doncaster which has been their only victory to date (if you discount them beating our U23’s in the EFL Trophy in 2017). Since then, and especially since our drop into League One we’ve had a pretty good record against Donny - winning four and drawing two.
Never before though have the odds been more in Sunderland’s favour. Previously Doncaster have been knocking on the door of the play-offs, but this season there is a weight of expectation that Sunderland come away with a victory - which was the complete opposite of the mindset that we approached our last fixture before Christmas at the Emirates Stadium.
Since gaining promotion to League One in 2017, Doncaster have looked like a club that were improving year on year on doing things the right way to progress, but this year, something has gone a bit wrong.
They have consistently been one of the solid sides in the division and after losing out in the play-off semi-finals two years ago they drifted slightly down the table to a 14th placed finish last term and that decline has seemingly continued this season.
They currently sit second from bottom, only one point above Crewe Alexandra and six from safety. This led to manager Richie Wellens being sacked at the beginning of December after winning three of the 19 league games he took charge of.
Former winger Gary McSheffrey moved up from a role in the club's academy to take over as caretaker, and they may just be eyeing up a big scalp in front of their own fans to kickstart their season after beating Shrewsbury Town last time out.
League One Form...
The bookies have the Lads as huge favourites for this one at 4/1, with Doncaster at 13/20 to take all three points at home, while the draw is 11/4.
In terms of correct score, the bookies have a 1-0 away win priced at 24/5, and a 2-0 victory for the Lads close behind at 11/2. In comparison a 2-0 home win is a lengthy 28/1.
Head to head... at the Eco-Power Stadium
(In all competitions)
- Sunderland wins: 3
- Draws: 1
- Doncaster Rovers wins: 0
- Sunderland goals: 6
- Doncaster Rovers goals: 2
Last time we met... at Doncaster
Saturday 21st November 2021
Sky Bet League One
Doncaster Rovers 1-1 Sunderland
[Okenabirhie 90’ - Leadbitter 43’]
Sunderland: Matthews, McLaughlin, Wright, Flanagan, O’Nien, Leadbitter, Scowen, Hume, Gooch (Power), Maguire (Embleton), Wyke Substitutes not used: Burge, Sanderson, Diamond, Grigg, Graham
Doncaster Rovers: Lumley, Halliday, John, James (Coppinger), Wright, Anderson, Lokilo (Richards), Whiteman, Okenabirhie, Smith, Sims Substitutes not used: Jones, Amos, Butler, Williams, Ravenhill
Played for both...
In the doomed summer spending spree of 2002 that included Tore Andre Flo and Marcus Stewart, Sunderland also signed Sean Thornton from Tranmere Rovers for a tribunal set £225,000 despite having only made eleven first team appearances for the Wirral-based club.
Thornton never cemented a first team place on his time on Wearside. Despite proving his rapping capabilities, a struggle with injuries and loss of form and/or fitness hindered his time with Sunderland and he eventually left signing for League One Doncaster Rovers in for £175,000 in 2005.
Two years and fifty-nine appearances later, Thornton was released by Donny and picked up on a free transfer by Leyton Orient. Moves within the Welsh Premier League and the League of Ireland have followed since release from Orient in 2010 at the age of 26.
Twenty-four appearances for Grimsby Town was enough to persuade Everton to sign John Oster for £1.5 million in the summer of 1997.
Oster would spend two years on Merseyside, making forty appearances, before a nudge from Adrian Heath was enough for Peter Reid to part with £1 million to take him to Sunderland in 1999. Injuries and loss of form meant that the Welsh international would only start fifteen times for Sunderland over the next four seasons.
His contract was cancelled by Sunderland in January 2005 and Oster signed for Steve Cotterill’s Burnley, before moving on to Reading after seven months. A year at Crystal Palace would follow in 2008-09 before a move to Doncaster Rovers after his release from Palace a year later. In what was Oster’s most settled period in professional football he would stay at Donny for three years, playing over 100 times.
John Oster retired from football in 2015 after further spells with Barnet and Gateshead.