Tuesday 9th February 2021
(17th) Shrewsbury Town v Sunderland (7th)
Sky Bet League One
Montgomery Waters Meadow
TV/Stream: Full live match coverage available via www.safc.com
Radio: Full live match commentary available via BBC Sunderland DAB (not online)
Inconsistency is threatening to derail Sunderland’s promotion push, where failure to turn a point into three is the main issue. Lee Johnson’s side have drawn the last two in League One and have drawn, incredibly, on eight more occasions than the top three sides in the division this season.
A gap of seven points has opened up between Sunderland and Hull City sitting in the second promotion spot (with the Humberside club having played a game more), despite Grant McCann’s men finding themselves on the losing side twice as many times as their counterparts from Wearside.
Sunderland, however, do find themselves unbeaten from home going into the second half of the season having won six and drawn six so far, providing reason for confidence ahead of our midweek trip to Shropshire.
The Shrews assistant manager Aaron Wilbraham is still the man giving out the orders from the sidelines as manager Steve Cotterill continues his recovery from coronavirus in a nearby hospital in Bristol. All at Roker Report send our good wishes to Steve.
Like Sunderland, Shrewsbury’s home form hasn’t been great this season and would put them 19th in a table based on that alone. Only two wins have come in the eleven played so far this season, but Lee Johnson will have no doubt noticed that both home victories in League One have come within the last three fixtures at Montgomery Waters Meadow.
At the weekend Steve Cotterill’s side claimed all three points against strugglers Swindon Town at the County Ground, creating a six point gap between themselves and the bottom four. A couple more wins under the belt like that and they will begin to look up the table rather than over their shoulder.
Having played a couple of games less than most of the teams above them, they will be looking at a victory over Sunderland to be a springboard for greater things in the second half of the season.
League One Form Guide
Last five games...
Sunderland Team News
After Sunderland’s convincing Papa John’s Trophy victory over MK Dons, Lee Johnson returned back to more familiar selections for the League One clash that ended in a draw.
Vokins improved as the game went on so is likely to be handed another opportunity at left-back. Also in the back four, Jordan Willis was a late replacement for Tom Flanagan so is likely to continue his partnership with Bailey Wright in the middle.
If the manager is keeping the same shape then it could potential mean the return of Josh Scowen to slot in alongside Luke O’Nien in an effort to add energy to a two-man central midfield, with possibly Leadbitter making way.
Jordan Jones will also be looking at making the starting line-up after appearing from the bench on Saturday. It will be between Lynden Gooch and Aiden McGeady to make way and with Gooch still finding fitness after a period out, he could make way for the on-loan signing from Glasgow Rangers.
Possible XI: Burge, Power, Wright, Willis, Vokins, O’Nien, Scowen, Jones, McGeady, O’Brien, Wyke
Shrewsbury Town Team News
Town have been busy in the January transfer window, recruiting five players to help them improve their 17th position in League One in the second half of the campaign.
Both strikers who turned out last time in the victory over Swindon Town were new recruits in Curtis Main on a short-term loan from Aberdeen, and Harry Chapman on a similar deal from Blackburn Rovers. Chapman is already making an impression after being voted the player of the month by the club’s fans in his first month at the club.
Possible XI: Sarkic, Love, Ebanks-Landell, Williams, Ogbeta, Vela, Norburn, Goss, Whalley, Main, Chapman
Last Time We Met... at the New Meadow
Saturday 26th January 2019
Sky Bet League One
Shrewsbury Town 1 - 0 Sunderland (Cummings 22’)
Sunderland: Burge (J. McLaughlin), O’Nien, Willis, Lynch, Hume, Dobson, Power, Watmore (McNulty), Maguire, McGeady, Grigg (Kimpioka) Substitutes not used: C. McLaughlin, Flanagan, Leadbitter, McGeouch
Shrewsbury Town: O’Leary, Love, Golbourne, Williams, Pierre, Beckles, Whalley (Goss), Norburn, Cummings (Okenabirhie), Laurent, Edwards (Thompson) Substitutes not used: Murphy, Walker, McCormick, Barnett
Played for Both
The Sunderland-born right-back was signed from Wimbledon by Denis Smith in his first summer in charge before taking us out of the Third Division at the first attempt.
The tough tackling full-back was a regular in the Sunderland side until breaking his leg in 1993 at Roker Park against Birmingham City. When most players would lie on the stretcher in agony, Kay sat up and rowed himself off, and never returned in a Sunderland shirt.
Played seven games for Shrewsbury Town in a loan move in 1996.
Signed for Sunderland in 2002 from Tranmere Rovers and made 64 appearances scoring 9 goals for the Lads before leaving in 2005.
Maybe remembered more for wasting the talent he showed in glimpses for Sunderland, that meant a rap caught on camera during promotion celebrations being what most fans remember of the midfielder’s time at the Stadium of Light.
Joined Shrewsbury Town on-loan from Leyton Orient in 2008 and played five games.
Head to Head... at the New Meadow
In all competitions...
Sunderland wins: 4
Shrewsbury Town wins: 1
Goals for Sunderland: 7
Goals for Shrewsbury Town: 3
Sunderland are once again favourites with the bookies to win away from home and are priced at 23/20, with the home side at 13/5 and the tempting draw on offer at 11/5.
It won’t take a genius to guess that Charlie Wyke is the man the bookmakers have as favourite to open the scoring for Sunderland at 7/2, and at 11/8 as an anytime goalscorer.
For a little extra value, both Aiden McGeady and Jordan Jones are on offer at 9/1 to open the scoring the Lads.
Interestingly, the bookmakers have a 1-1 draw as the most likely result at 9/2, with a 1-0 Sunderland victory next at 5/1. A second successive 2-2 draw for Sunderland is a 16/1 shot.
I’d like to think we’re learning our lessons as we go, and we didn’t react well to taking a lead at Stadium MK on Saturday, so I’m backing us to win with the only goal of the game.