Wednesday 17th March 2021
(10th) Accrington Stanley v Sunderland (4th)
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 has now claimed his first trophy as Sunderland manager and we are flying. With one defeat in the last fifteen in all competitions and still only one defeat away from home all season, the manager will be fancying our chance of claiming all three points tonight.
One aspect under the microscope tonight will be the side's reaction to a trip to Wembley and lifting eventually lifting the trophy. Spirits were clearly high within the squad after the game which is great to see, and hopefully, that can carry into our next series of fixtures to keep the points ticking over.
With Peterborough and Hull continuing to threaten to break away from the pack, it’s more important than ever to keep winning football matches.
After being in the job for almost six and a half years in his second spell at the club, John Coleman is currently cementing Stanley’s status as a League One club after promotion from League Two in 2018.
After comfortably steering clear of relegation troubles by achieving 14th and 17th place finishes, this season looked like it might have had a very different target at the turn of the year as Accrington hovered in and around the play-off positions.
One win in the last seven however, means they have now slipped to 13th in League One but still only five points off the play-off positions.
Stanley’s home form overall has been solid with 8 wins and 4 defeats in 16 games at the Crown Ground so far this season, but with Sunderland coming to town boasting one of the best away records in League One they will need to be on top form to avoid a fifth defeat this term.
League One Form Guide
Last five games...
Sunderland Team News
Lee Johnson made a point of calling out the players who weren’t able to make it on to the pitch at Wembley, and it will be interesting if he shuffles the deck or tries to ride the crest of a wave by selecting as many as possible from those who did the business in the capital.
With Conor McLaughlin returning to fitness we may see the full-back return to action in the starting XI after replacing Tom Flanagan on Sunday as the ex-Burton Albion man picked up a knock. This would likely result in Max Power returning to a midfield role possibly alongside the industrious Josh Scowen.
Also at the back, we would expect Dion Sanderson to return to the side to partner Luke O’Nien and at the other end of the pitch, it would be a surprise if Jordan Jones doesn’t return to the side if deemed fit.
Possible XI: Burge, McLaughlin, Sanderson, O’Nien, McFadzean, Power, Scowen, Gooch, McGeady, Jones, Wyke
Accrington Stanley Team News
John Coleman has a host of injury problems to contend with and may well be forced into fielding the same side that was beaten in injury time at MK Dons on Saturday in a 3-2 defeat.
Sunderland will need to be wary of Dion Charles up top for Stanley who has bagged 16 goals in League One so far this season.
Possible XI: Savin, Rodgers, Nottingham, Hughes, Burgess, Morgan, Barclay, McConville, Butcher, Smyth, Charles
Last Time We Met...
Saturday 14th September 2019
Sky Bet League One
Accrington Stanley 1 - 3 Sunderland
(Clark 5’ - Gooch 7’, McGeady 26’, McNulty 36’)
Sunderland: J. McLaughlin, O’Nien, Willis, Ozturk, Hume, Gooch, Dobson, Leadbitter (McGeouch), McGeady, Maguire (Grigg), McNulty (Embleton) Substitutes not used: Burge, C. McLaughlin, Flanagan, Power
Accrington Stanley: Evtimov, Johnson, Opoku, Sherif (Diallo), Sykes, Hughes (Alese), Clark, Finley, Charles, Bishop, Pritchard (Carvalho) Substitutes not used: Bursik, Edwards, Barclay, Simpson
Played For both
After making his debut a month after the 1985 Milk Cup final defeat Gordon Armstrong would go on to become one of Sunderland’s top ten all-time appearance makers ending his time on Wearside with 416 outings for the Lads.
Armstrong’s eleven eventful years as a professional with Sunderland included three promotions, three relegations, a Play-Off final, a testimonial at Roker Park against Porto, and an FA Cup final.
He was also the first Sunderland midfielder since Bobby Kerr to score 50 League goals for the club, which included a memorable last-minute winner at Roker Park against Chelsea that took Sunderland to an FA Cup semi-final in 1992.
After leaving for Bury in 1996, Armstrong eventually joined Accrington Stanley in 2003, via five years with Burnley, where he made thirteen appearances in 2003-2004.
John Mullin was one of Peter Reid’s first signings for Sunderland in the summer of 1995, signing for a tribunal-set £40,000 from Burnley that would increase based on appearances.
After making a handful of appearances during Sunderland’s promotion season in 1995-96, Mullin would go on to make ten Premier League appearances with a notable contribution of scoring the winner in a 2-1 victory at Roker Park over Manchester United.
He also had the honour of scoring the last ever goal at Roker Park when he scored the only goal in the ‘Farewell to Roker Park’ match against Liverpool in 1996.
He eventually signed for Stanley via Rotherham United and Tranmere Rovers in 2008 where he made 32 appearances over the next two years.
Head to Head...
In all competitions...
Sunderland wins: 3
Accrington Stanley wins: 0
Goals for Sunderland: 11
Goals for Accrington Stanley: 4
The bookies have Sunderland at evens to take all three points this evening, with Stanley a 3/1 shot and the draw on offer at 23/10.
At 5/1 the bookmakers have a 1-1 and a 1-0 victory to Sunderland as the shortest price, followed closely by 0-0 alongside 2-1 and 2-0 wins to Sunderland at 15/2. A narrow victory for the home side by via the only goal of the game is priced at 8/1.
Charlie Wyke is once again the obvious choice to open the scoring for Sunderland and is available at 14/5 for the opener and 21/20 anytime scorer, with Aiden O’Brien and Chris Maguire next in line at 11/2 to get the opener and 21/10 anytime scorer.
Wembley’s hero Lynden Gooch is an 8/1 shot to repeat his opening goal from Sunday and 16/5 anytime scorer.
Winning at Wembley and lifting the cup was fantastic, the performance however, wasn’t.
I think the good feeling will get us through to claim maximum points, but it has the potential to be a fixture to bring us back down to Earth if we’re not careful.