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Match Preview: Here’s everything you need to know ahead of Sunderland v Fleetwood Town!

Sunderland return to the Stadium of Light looking for a third straight league victory against Simon Grayson’s Fleetwood Town - here is everything you need to know ahead of kick-off!

Sunderland v Lincoln City - Papa John’s Trophy Photo by MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Tuesday 23rd February 2021

(6th) Sunderland v Fleetwood Town (16th)

Sky Bet League One

Stadium of Light

Kick-Off: 7.00pm


Match Coverage

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

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


This season’s breathless schedule rolls on without apology as Lee Johnson’s side return to action on the back of a successful week, that saw league victories sandwiching the confirmation of another trip to Wembley.

Sunderland entertain Fleetwood Town tonight with the prospect of winning three successive games in League One for the first time in 12 months, as we aim to prove our promotion credentials.

A new approach under Johnson has yielded seven goals in the last two league games with only one conceded, and the hope will be that at least some of that attacking intent will continue at the Stadium of Light tonight.

Sunderland v Lincoln City - Papa John’s Trophy
Lee Johnson
Photo by MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

During Sunderland’s time in the third tier, we have always found it tough facing Joey Barton’s Fleetwood Town, which is highlighted in the fact that we are yet to record a victory over the Cod Army, but on the 4th January, Barton and Fleetwood parted company.

At the time Fleetwood sat 10th in League One, which found them on the same points as Sunderland and three behind the play-offs - seven weeks on, and they now find themselves 16th in the table and 11 points off the top six.

The man chosen to replace Barton is someone who Sunderland fans are of course familiar with in the form of ex-Sunderland boss Simon Grayson.

Since his appointment on the 31st January, Fleetwood have had three home games that have resulted in a victory over Doncaster Rovers in between draws against Bristol Rovers and their last opponents Charlton Athletic at the weekend, plus an away defeat at Plymouth Argyle.

No doubt Grayson will want to kickstart Fleetwood’s season whilst also trying to prove a few people at Sunderland wrong after his disastrous spell as manager ended on Halloween in 2017.

Fleetwood Town v Charlton Athletic - Sky Bet League One - Highbury Stadium
Fleetwood Town manager Simon Grayson
Photo by Richard Sellers/PA Images via Getty Images

League One Form Guide

Last five games...


Sunderland Team News

Lee Johnson may be tempted to keep the team fresh and rotate a few of the players from the weekend, but does he want to fix things if they aren’t broken?

Vokins had a more solid hour under his belt than his opening two appearances so is likely to be given the nod again on Sunderland’s left side. It’s also may prove to be too soon for Ross Stewart to make his Sunderland debut as he continues his recovery from a hamstring injury.

Possible XI: Burge, McLaughlin, Sanderson, O’Nien, Vokins, Power, Leadbitter, Gooch, McGeady, O’Brien, Wyke

Burton Albion v Sunderland - Sky Bet League One
Lynden Gooch
Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Fleetwood Town Team News

Simon Grayson has kept a consistent 3-5-2 formation since his appointment at the end of January and with three games without defeat so far as manager means he will likely continue with that system.

David Batty who signed for Fleetwood from Hull City in January will continue in midfield.

Possible XI: Cairns, Hill. Connolly, Holgate, Donacien, Duffy, Rossiter, Batty, Andrew, Madden, Vassell


Last Time We Met... at the Stadium of Light

Tuesday 25th February 2020

Sky Bet League One

Sunderland 1 - 1 Fleetwood Town

(Power 90’ - McKay 5’)

Sunderland: J. McLaughlin, Willis (Watmore), Oturk, Flanagan, O’Nien, Dobson (Lafferty), Power, Hume (Semenyo), Gooch, Maguire, Wyke Substitutes not used: Burge, C. McLaughlin, Smith, Scowen

Fleetwood Town: Cairns, Coyle, Andrew, Connolly, Souttar, Gibson, Burns (Saunders), Coutts (Sowerby), Madden, Whelan, McKay (Morris) Substitutes not used: Crellin, Holgate, Thorvaldsson, Biggins

Attendance: 28,255

Sunderland v Fleetwood Town - Sky Bet League One
Max Power celebrates his late equaliser against Fleetwood Town in February 2020
Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Played for Both

Ross Wallace

Wallace moved south from Celtic in a deal that also included the return of Stanislav Varga for a combined fee of around £1.1 million in August 2006.

The then 21-year-old helped Sunderland to promotion to the Premier League in his first season at the club and stayed on Wearside until 2009 after making 55 appearances and scoring 8 goals.

After spells with Preston North End, Burnley and Sheffield Wednesday, he made 39 appearances at Fleetwood Town in 2018-19.

Conor McLaughlin

Current defender McLaughlin spent five years at Fleetwood between 2012-2017 before leaving to join Millwall after making 172 appearances for the Cod Army. Joined Sunderland on a free transfer in July 2019 and will likely feature in Lee Johnson’s starting XI to face his former side.

Soccer - Coca-Cola Football League Championship - Sunderland v Wolverhampton Wanderers - Stadium of Light
Ross Wallace
Photo by Joe Giddens - PA Images via Getty Images

Head to Head...

In all competitions...

Played: 5

Sunderland wins: 0

Draws: 4

Fleetwood Town wins: 1

Goals for Sunderland: 5

Goals for Fleetwood Town: 6


Match Betting

Even the bookies seem to think Sunderland are on a roll as we are clear favourites with the bookies at 5/6. Fleetwood find themselves an 18/5 shot with the draw on offer at 12/5.

Charlie Wyke is the main man to open the scoring for Sunderland at 13/5, and is evens as an anytime goalscorer. Aiden O’Brien and Chris Maguire are both 5/1 to get the opener and 2/1 to hit the net at anytime.

A 1-0 Sunderland victory is out in front for correct score at 4/1, and a repeat of the weekend which would see another 3-0 is on offer at 14/1.

Sunderland v Lincoln City - Papa John’s Trophy
Can Charlie Wyke continue his current run of form?
Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Match Prediction

We’re on a roll - I think. Also, I refuse to contemplate Simon Grayson winning at the Stadium of Light.

Sunderland 2 - 0 Fleetwood Town