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Match Preview: Get all the build-up to Sunderland’s quarter-final clash!

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The Papa John’s Trophy is starting to get interesting, and what better way to build-up to our quarter-final clash with MK Dons than to consult the Roker Report match preview!

Simon Dael / BPI

Tuesday 2nd February 2021

MK Dons v Sunderland

Papa John’s Trophy

Quarter Final

Stadium MK

Kick-Off: 6.30pm


Match Coverage

TV/Stream: Full live match coverage available via www.safc.com

Radio: Full live match commentary available via BBC 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 www.RokerReport.com!


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.

Sunderland v Gillingham - Sky Bet League One
Lee Johnson’s Sunderland face MK Dons twice away from home in the space of a week
Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

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.

Sunderland v Milton Keynes Dons - Sky Bet League One
Russell Martin’s MK Dons beat Sunderland last time they met at the Stadium of Light in November
Photo by Ian Horrocks/Getty Images

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

Sunderland Unveil New Signing Jordan Jones
Will we see Jordan Jones in a Sunderland shirt for the first time?
Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

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

Sunderland v MK Dons - Sky Bet League 1
The writing was on the wall for Phil Parkinson when Sunderland went down 2-1 to MK Dons at the Stadium of Light in November
Photo by Trevor Wilkinson/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Played for Both

Michael Bridges

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.

Paul Butler

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.

Sheffield United v Sunderland
Michael Bridges
Photo by Neal Simpson/EMPICS via Getty Images

Head to Head

In all competitions...

Played: 5

Sunderland wins: 4

Draws: 0

MK Dons wins: 1

Goals for Sunderland: 10

Goals for MK Dons: 5


Match Betting

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.

Sunderland Announce New Signing Ross Stewart
Will new signing Ross Stewart be handed an opportunity to get off the mark for Sunderland at MK Dons?
Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Match Prediction

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.

MK Dons 0 - 2 Sunderland