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Bristol Rovers v Shrewsbury Town - Sky Bet League One

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Match Preview: All you need to know ahead of Sunderland’s trip to Blackpool!

It’s a chance for the Lads to get back to winning ways as we travel to Blackpool - here’s everything you need to know ahead of kick-off!

Photo by James Baylis - AMA/Getty Images

Saturday 17th April 2021

(5th) Blackpool v Sunderland (3rd)

Sky Bet League One

Bloomfield Road

Kick-Off: 12.30pm

Match Coverage

TV/Stream: Full live match coverage available via

Radio: Full live match commentary available via 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!

All the focus was on the Easter weekend fixtures which was navigated fairly successfully, but this has been backed up with two defeats which means it’s now out of our hands.

The target now for Lee Johnson will be to win our remaining six games with not only the aim of catching the top two should they slip up, but to get back to winning ways ahead of a likely extension to the season in the form of the play-offs.

It’s a good test for the Sunderland squad to get back a bit of confidence and considering we have only been beaten twice on the road this season we’d have every right to be confident ahead of kick-off.

Wigan Athletic v Sunderland - Sky Bet League One
One of those nice, long unbeaten runs would go down a treat right now...
Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

It’s been just over a year since Neil Critchley took over at Bloomfield Road, which came a week before the season was curtailed due to COVID-19. After losing 4 of the first 5 games this term Blackpool have turned it around to now become one of the forces in League One.

Maybe not surprising when you realise that Critchley is one of only 16 UEFA ‘Elite’ coaches and spent so long in the youth setup at Liverpool.

Unbeaten in the last 14 games, Blackpool will have their sights set firmly on Sunderland as they sit points behind with a game in hand.

Blackpool v Accrington Stanley - Sky Bet League One
Blackpool manager Neil Critchley
Photo by Dave Howarth - CameraSport via Getty Images

League One Form Guide

Last five games...

Sunderland Team News

Dion Sanderson and Conor McLaughlin are unlikely to feature which could mean Max Power once again drops back into right-back, and Luke O’Nien is likely to partner Bailey Wright at the back.

Denver Hume is also set to continue his return to full fitness and continue at left-back, but the biggest decisions might come in midfield and up front for Lee Johnson.

Possible XI: Burge, Power, Wright, O’Nien, Hume, Winchester, Leadbitter, Jones, McGeady, O’Brien, Wyke

Sunderland v Lincoln City - Sky Bet League One - Stadium of Light
Will Grant Leadbitter return to the starting XI today?
Photo by Richard Sellers/PA Images via Getty Images

Blackpool Team News

Elliot Embleton is unavailable to play due to the terms of the loan deal between the two clubs, and Ethan Robson will likely feature on the bench against his former club.

Sullay Kaikai is the man likely to take Embleton’s place on the left, and otherwise no new injury worries for the manager.

Possible XI: Maxwell, Lawrence-Gabriel, Ballard, Gretarsson, Garbutt, Kaikai, Ward, Dougall, Mitchell, Simms, Yates

Last Time We Met... at Bloomfield Road

Tuesday 1st January 2019

Sky Bet League One

Blackpool 0 - 1 Sunderland

(Maja 23’)

Sunderland: J. McLaughlin, O’Nien, Flanagan, Baldwin, James, Gooch, Power, Cattermole, McGeady, Wyke (McGeouch), Maja (Maguire) Substitutes not used: Ruiter, Ozturk, Mumba, Kimpioka, Sinclair

Blackpool: Howard, Spearing, Guy, Daniels, O’Connor, Heneghan, Delfounso (Dodoo), Taylor (Pritchard), Gnanduillet, Bola, Feeney Substitutes not used: Mafoumbi, Nottingham, Shaw, O’Sullivan, Davies

Attendance: 10,994

Blackpool v Sunderland - Sky Bet League One
Josh Maja scores the winning goal the last time the two sides met on new year’s day 2019
Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Played For both

Nyron Nosworthy

Nyron Nosworthy began his career with Gillingham and made 174 league appearances before eventually signing for Sunderland, where Mick McCarthy’s side had just been promoted to the Premier League on the back of winning the Championship.

Initially signed as back-up at right back to Stephen Wright, it would be a tough introduction to the Premier League for Sunderland and Nosworthy as we would have to wait for our seventh league game of the season for a first win of the season.

Sunderland continued to struggle and were relegated on 15 points which led to the introduction of Roy Keane as manager, and a move to the centre of defence the following season saw Nosworthy make 27 appearances and become a cult figure on Wearside as Sunderland defied all odds by winning the title despite being 19th position in the Championship in November.

Between 2010 and 2012 Nosworthy had successful loan moves to Sheffield United and Gianfranco Zola’s Watford before moving permanently to Vicarage Road in January 2012. He would make 44 league appearances over a two-year period that included another loan move this time to Bristol City in 2014 before joining Lee Clark at Blackpool on a short term deal in 2014.

After only a handful of appearances at Blackpool, and a loan move to Portsmouth, Nosworthy would finish his career in 2016 following a year at Dagenham and Redbridge.

Sunderland’s English defender Nyron Nosw Photo credit should read Martin Elliot/AFP via Getty Images

Kevin Phillips

If you’re asking who Kevin Phillips is or are too young to have seen him in full flow for the Lads then you have my sympathy.

130 goals in 235 appearances for Sunderland over six seasons after joining from Watford ahead of the first season at the Stadium of Light for next to nothing. Unbelievable goals from all sorts of angles and for a time it was one of the constants in my life was that Sunderland would win and Phillips would score.

Signed for Blackpool after spells at Southampton, Aston Villa and West Bromwich Albion in 2011 scoring 18 goals in 56 games, where one of which won a goal of the season award, of course.

Kevin Phillips award Photo by Owen Humphreys - PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images

Head to Head... at Bloomfield Road

In all competitions...

Played: 29

Sunderland wins: 9

Draws: 9

Blackpool wins: 11

Goals for Sunderland: 37

Goals for Blackpool: 50

Match Betting

The bookmakers can’t decide and it’s pretty close in the betting. Sunderland are 15/8, while fellow promotion chasers Blackpool are 13/8, and the draw 2/1.

The evidence on how close the bookies have it can be seen in the correct score, where it’s 6/1, for both sides to win with the only goal of the game and for a goalless draw. It’s also unsurprising that a 1-1 draw is favourite at 9/2.

Charlie Wyke got back on the scoresheet last time out and is 10/3 to open the scoring for Sunderland and 5/4 anytime.

Wigan Athletic v Sunderland - Sky Bet League One
Can our top scorer do it again today?
Photo by Lewis Storey/Getty Images

Match Prediction

Blackpool are a good side in form, and we’re a good side out of form, I think it could be close.

Blackpool 1 - 1 Sunderland


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