Saturday 27th February 2021
(11th) Crewe Alexandra v Sunderland (5th)
Sky Bet League One
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)
Lee Johnson now has the ball rolling and it’s all about keeping it going. Other than Peterborough United, we’re the only team in League One to have won the last three successive fixtures.
Now seven points from the top two with 17 games remaining, we are now in a position where we have our sights firmly on automatic promotion rather than simply aiming to occupy a play-off position, which has been the case for much of this season.
Sunderland have been the losing side on fewer occasions than anyone else in League One so far this season, and in this vein of form, you wouldn’t bet against Lee Johnson’s side still maintaining that statistic following this afternoons clash at Crewe.
David Artell and Crewe Alexandra will be very pleased with the way they have taken to life in League One this season. They might have finished runners-up to Swindon Town in League Two last year, but are 15 points better off than their promotion counterparts, and sit only six behind the play-offs.
One of the main reasons for their impressive performance in League One has been their form at the Alexandra Stadium this season. In a table based purely on home form they would be sitting 3rd with 8 wins and only 3 defeats from 15 so far this season, which is almost a complete reversal of the 8 defeats they have suffered away from home.
With Sunderland having only been defeated once on the road this season, this is a matchup of two sides in form and may take a moment of magic to break the deadlock.
League One Form Guide
Last five games...
Sunderland Team News
With Lee Johnson still waiting on a number of first team regulars to return to fitness, it is likely we’ll see a very similar lineup to the side that defeated Fleetwood on Tuesday evening.
McFadzean seemed to be preferred to Vokins so should keep his place on the left although this may depend on whether Johnson sets up with a three or a four at the back.
Otherwise, same again may be the order of the day.
Possible XI: Burge, McLaughlin, Sanderson, O’Nien, McFadzean, Power, Leadbitter, Gooch, McGeady, O’Brien, Wyke
Crewe Alexandra Team News
David Artell usually favours a 4-3-3 and it’s likely we’ll see Owen Dale and Charlie Kirk either side of former Sunderland striker Mikael Mandron up top for Crewe this afternoon.
Top scorer Oliver Finney is ruled out through the broken leg he suffered as a result of a late challenge from Shrewsbury Town’s Harry Chapman earlier in the month.
Possible XI: Richards, Daniels, Wood, Beckles, Pickering, Murphy, Wintle, Lowery, Kirk, Dale, Mandron
Last Time We Met... at the Alexandra Stadium
Saturday 12th March 2005
Crewe Alexandra 0 - 1 Sunderland
Sunderland: Myhre, Wright, Breen, Caldwell, McCartney, Whitehead, Robinson, Whitley, Thornton (Arca), Bridges (Elliott), Stewart (Brown) Substitutes not used: Ingham, Lawrence
Crewe Alexandra: Williams, Moss, Tonkin, Lunt, Murdock, Foster, Sorvel, Bell (White), Varney, Rivers (Jones), Vaughan Substitutes not used: Wills, McCready, Cochrane
Played for Both
Full-back Billy Jones began his career at Crewe, making his debut in 2003, before moving to Preston in 2007. After three years at Deepdale followed by three years at West Bromwich Albion, he signed for Sunderland on a free transfer in 2014.
He made 96 appearances at the Stadium of Light, scoring 3 goals before he left in 2018 to join Rotherham United. Crewe Alexandra re-signed Jones in January on-loan from the South Yorkshire club but he returned to his parent club due to a knee injury earlier this month.
Bootle-born Stephen Wright had two loan spells at Crewe as he was progressing through the ranks at Liverpool across 1999 and 2000. Peter Reid brought the full-back to Sunderland in a deal worth £1.5 million in 2002 only weeks before he was sacked as manager of Sunderland.
He made 105 appearances for Sunderland before he was released in the summer of 2008.
Head to Head...
In all competitions...
Sunderland wins: 9
Crewe Alexandra wins: 2
Goals for Sunderland: 23
Goals for Crewe Alexandra: 10
Despite being back on the road, Sunderland are still 11/10 to take all three points at the Alexandra Stadium. Crewe are a 5/2 shot with the draw on offer at 12/5.
The bookies are expecting a close game with a 1-0 Sunderland victory correct score on offer at 6/1, and a repeat of the midweek 2-0 is 17/2.
Not convinced it will be as comfortable as our recent run of games, but I think we’ll make it four in a row and begin to apply pressure to the top two.