Saturday 28th August 2021
(5th) Sunderland v Wycombe Wanderers (2nd)
Sky Bet League One
Stadium of Light
Tickets & Match Coverage
Radio: Full live match commentary available via BBC Radio Newcastle (not online)
It’s an early chance for Lee Johnson and Sunderland to lay down a marker this season and confirm our credentials for automatic promotion as we take on Wycombe Wanderers at the Stadium of Light.
After taking nine points from a possible 12 so far, we sit one point and three places behind Gareth Ainsworth’s side, who occupy second spot behind league leaders Sheffield Wednesday.
Our impressive performance at Blackpool in midweek in the Carabao Cup will give Lee Johnson something to think about when coming up with his starting XI today, and it will be interesting to see if any player has forced his way into the side.
Wycombe Wanderers return to League One following their season in the Championship, where a late surge almost saw them survive – and that puts Gareth Ainsworth in a strange position this season in terms of expectation.
It’s coming up to nine years since Ainsworth took over as manager and, for the first time, the club expects success. Prior to this, success has quite often come against the odds during his reign but fans now expect a top-six finish.
The transfer business over the summer has had ups and downs, the loss of Uche Ikpeazu to Middlesbrough and Fred Onyedinma to Luton were disappointments, but captures such as Josh Scowen, Sullay Kaikai and Sam Vokes have boosted the ranks.
Wins against Accrington, Cheltenham and Lincoln with a point away to Wigan means 10 points from 12 so far in League One, but the analysis of the performances by those who regularly watch the side, suggests there is room for improvement for Ainsworth’s side.
League One Form...
We might be in close proximity in the early League One table, but the bookies fancy a home victory for Sunderland at 19/20 while Wycombe are 14/5 to take all three points with the draw at 5/2.
In terms of a final score, a 1-1 draw is favourite at 5/1, closely followed by a 1-0 Sunderland victory at 6/1, just ahead of 2-1 at 15/2 and a 2-0 home win at 8/1.
Wycombe are 9/1 to win with the only goal of the game, 11/1 to take the game 2-1 and 18/1 for a more convincing 2-0 victory.
Head to head...
(In all competitions)
Sunderland wins: 1
Wycombe Wanderers wins: 1
Sunderland goals: 6
Wycombe Wanderers goals: 3
Last time we met... at the Stadium of Light
Saturday 11th January 2020
Sky Bet League One
Sunderland 4-0 Wycombe Wanderers
(Wyke 6’, Hume 16’, Maguire 21’ (pen), 78’)
Sunderland: J. McLaughlin, Willis, Ozturk, Flanagan (Lynch), O’Nien, Dobson, Power, Hume, Gooch (McNulty), Maguire, Wyke Substitutes not used: Burge, C. McLaughlin, Leadbitter, Watmore, Grigg
Wycombe Wanderers: Allsop, Phillips (Akinfenwa), Jacobson, Gape (Pattison), Stewart, Charles, Wheeler, Thompson, Samuel, Bloomfield, Smyth (Parker) Substitutes not used: Ofoborh, Freeman, Aarons, Kashket
Played for both...
Hardyman came through the ranks at Portsmouth with Kevin Ball before joining Sunderland as a 25-year-old in the summer of 1989 for £130,000. He was part of the side that gained promotion to Division One in 1990 - and famously missed a penalty in the first leg of the play-off semi-final against Newcastle before being sent off for his... erm... reaction.
He left in the summer of 1992 following a fallout with Malcolm Crosby after not making the starting line-up ahead of the 1992 FA Cup final to join Bristol Rovers and signed for Wycombe in 1995.
Born in Whitley Bay, Cornforth began his career with Sunderland and although making his debut as a 17-year-old on the last day of 1984-85 he would not make another appearance until 1987 under Denis Smith.
In his six years at Sunderland, Cornforth would make 38 appearances and had loan spells at Doncaster Rovers, Shrewsbury Town and Lincoln City before leaving for Swansea City in 1991. He would enjoy a successful five years in Wales, where he’d make 149 appearances that included winning the Football League Trophy in 1994, and was capped twice for Wales in 1995.
His form led to a £350,000 move to Barry Fry’s Birmingham City in 1996 where he would struggle to hold down a first-team place before moving to Wycombe Wanderers within months of his transfer to St Andrews. Cornforth had further moves to Peterborough United (on loan), Cardiff City, Scunthorpe United and Exeter City ahead of hanging up his boots in 2001 when he was appointed manager of Exeter City.
He has also managed Newport County and Torquay United and was recently assistant manager of Blyth Spartans.