Tuesday 2nd February 2021
MK Dons v Sunderland
Papa John’s Trophy
TV/Stream: Full live match coverage available via www.safc.com
Radio: Full live match commentary available via BBC Newcastle (not online)
Two fixtures against MK Dons at Stadium MK could potentially play a role in determining the success of Sunderland’s 2020-21 season. First up, the two sides contest a Papa John’s Trophy quarter-final, and at last, it feels we have reached the stage where this competition starts to get interesting.
Lee Johnson is yet to claim a trophy as a manager and may look at this opportunity to change that fact, as well as install that winning habit into a club that has lacked it for far too long.
Russell Martin’s MK Dons side are sitting nine points from safety and nine points from the drop zone in League One, so cup glory could well be on the agenda.
League One consolidation is a priority but a repeat of 2007-08 when they won the EFL Trophy under the management of Paul Ince would turn a season of mediocrity in the midst of a pandemic, into one to remember for the right reasons.
League One Form Guide
Last five games...
Sunderland Team News
It’s time for a spin on Lee Johnson’s Papa John’s Trophy selection wheel, and the question is - how much does the manager want to push for a trophy in his first season without potentially risking a late promotion push?
It will also be interesting to note how many of the new signings (other than Vokins who is cup-tied) will take a spin in a Sunderland shirt without the pressure of three points being at stake.
Possible XI: Matthews, Power, Flanagan, Younger, McFadzean, Scowen, Winchester, Maguire, Jones, Gooch, O’Brien
MK Dons Team News
Russell Martin has shuffled his pack during the Papa Johns Pizza Trophy campaign so far having easily dispatched Norwich City U21’s 6-0, followed by Northampton Town 2-0 in the knock-out stages.
As with Lee Johnson and Sunderland, it will be interesting to see how many changes are made from the side that beat AFC Wimbledon at the weekend with a semi-final place at stake.
Possible XI: Nicholls, Lewington, Darling, Laird, Fraser, Brown, Surman, Sorensen, Mason, Harvie, Sorinola
Last Time We Met
Saturday 14th November 2020
Sky Bet League One
Sunderland 1 - 2 MK Dons (Power 12’ - Jerome 16’, Fraser 47’)
Sunderland: Matthews, Willis (Diamond), Wright, O’Nien, Gooch, Leadbitter, Power (Maguire), Scowen, Hume, Wyke, Grigg (Graham) Substitutes not used: Burge, Sanderson, Dobson, O’Brien
MK Dons: Fisher, Fraser, Sorinola, O’Hora, Keogh, Lewington, Gladwin (Cargill), Kasumu, Jerome, Walker (Morris), Thompson (Sorensen) Substitutes not used: Nicholls, Davies, Freeman, Johnson
Played for Both
In some parallel universe out there, Michael Bridges went on to make over 500 appearances for Sunderland and 50 for England on his way to lifting trophy after trophy for club and country - but in this one he didn’t.
Two spells at Sunderland accumulated 23 in 112 appearances where more than half were as substitute. Joined MK Dons as a 31-year-old in 2009 making two appearances in his three-week stay.
A £1 million signing by Peter Reid from Bury in the summer of 1998, Butler formed a formidable partnership with Andy Melville that helped us to the title and 105 points in his debut season.
The Republic of Ireland international made 95 appearances for Sunderland before leaving for Wolves in 2001. Joined MK Dons in 2007 from Leeds United after a loan spell and played around 20 games for the Buckinghamshire club.
Head to Head
In all competitions...
Sunderland wins: 4
MK Dons wins: 1
Goals for Sunderland: 10
Goals for MK Dons: 5
Sunderland are favourites with the bookies to progress to the semi-final at 13/10, with the home side priced at 2/1 and the draw at 12/5.
Charlie Wyke is once again the shortest odds to open the scoring for Sunderland, and is on offer at 4/1, with new signing Ross Stewart at 11/2 to open his Sunderland account.
It’s a tricky tie to predict without confirmed line-ups, but I’m going for Sunderland’s away form to continue and book our place in the semi-final. It’s been said before, but it’s written in the stars that we finally win at Wembley this season... with nobody there to see it.