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Match Preview: Fleetwood Town v Sunderland - Can we finally win at Highbury Stadium?!

Can we make it six wins out of seven in League One and extend our lead at the top? Here’s everything you need to know ahead of kick-off!

Photo by Alex Dodd - CameraSport via Getty Images

Saturday 18th September 2021

(17th) Fleetwood Town v Sunderland (1st)

Sky Bet League One

Highbury Stadium

Kick-Off: 15:00


Tickets & Match Coverage

Tickets: Tickets sold out.

TV/Stream: Full live match coverage available via www.safc.com to residents outside the UK and Ireland, Channel Islands and Isle of Man only. Further information can be found here.

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 www.RokerReport.com!


The build-up...

This is our fifth attempt at beating Fleetwood Town on their own patch in all competitions and we’ve never been in a better position to put that right.

With only three points separating 2nd down to 13th in League One, Lee Johnson will no doubt see this as a great opportunity to create some daylight between ourselves and the chasing pack.

Due to the international break we’ve been able to take advantage of three successive fixtures at the Stadium of Light and today’s fixture sees us back on the road for the first time since 17th August for our trip to Burton - that witnessed our only defeat of the season.

Tom Flanagan has been in impressive form this season alongside Callum Doyle and will miss out today due to suspension, and Leon Dajaku could be close to making an appearance as he gets up to speed following his deadline move from Union Berlin.

Sunderland v Accrington Stanley - Sky Bet League One Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

For a change, the Fleetwood bench may not be receiving more attention than those on the pitch following the parting of ways with Joey Barton in January. Simon Grayson was appointed as the club lost its way in the interim period, and after steadying the ship, they eventually finished 15th, which was the lowest final league position since 2016.

We might only be six games into the new season, but it’s already a season of two halves for Fleetwood Town. They lost their first three fixtures of the season in League One, but have since won two and drawn one as they begin to climb up the table. Last time out saw an impressive win away at much-fancied Rotherham United, where they came back from 2-1 down to end up 4-2 winners.

You get the impression that they are trying to do things differently this season at Fleetwood, and it has the feeling of a club in transition - which always makes it difficult to predict how they’ll fare this season.

Lincoln City v Fleetwood Town - Sky Bet League One
A season of two halves so far for Simon Grayson and Fleetwood Town
Photo by Andrew Vaughan - CameraSport via Getty Images

League One Form...


The betting...

Despite Fleetwood’s recent form, the bookies fancy an away victory for Sunderland at 11/10 while Simon Grayson’s side are 27/10 to take all three points with the draw at 11/5.

In terms of a final score, a 1-1 draw is favourite at 9/2, closely followed by a 1-0 Sunderland victory at 6/1, just ahead of a goalless draw at 15/2.

Fleetwood are 8/1 to win with the only goal of the game, 11/1 to take the game 2-1, and a longer 16/1 for a more convincing 2-0 victory.


Head to head...

(In all competitions)

Sunderland wins: 1

Draws: 4

Fleetwood Town wins: 2

Sunderland goals: 8

Fleetwood Town goals: 8


Last time we met... at Highbury Stadium

Saturday 27th November 2020

Sky Bet League One

Fleetwood Town 1-1 Sunderland

(Connolly 73’ - Wyke 59’)

Sunderland: Matthews, McLaughlin, Wright, Flanagan, O’Nien, Leadbitter, Scowen, Hume (McFadzean), Maguire (Power), Wyke, Graham (Grigg) Substitutes not used: Burge, Sanderson, Diamond, Embleton

Fleetwood Town: Leutwiler, Burns (McKay), Andrew, Edwards, Connolly, Mulgrew, Camps, Rossiter (Coutts), Madden (Duffy), Finley (Whelan), Morris (Evans) Substitutes not used: Cairns, Hill

Fleetwood Town v Sunderland - Sky Bet League One
Charlie Wyke opens the scoring the last time we visited Fleetwood back in November
Photo by Ian Horrocks/Getty Images

Played for both...

Ross Wallace

Wallace was signed from Celtic on that frantic first transfer deadline day under Roy Keane in a deal that also included the return of Stanislav Varga for a combined fee of around £1.1 million.

The then 21-year-old helped Sunderland to promotion to the Premier League in his first season at the club and stayed until 2009 after scoring 8 goals in 55 appearances.

After leaving to join Preston North End, he had spells at Burnley and Sheffield Wednesday, and made 39 appearances for Fleetwood Town in 2018-19.

Arsenal v Sunderland
Ross Wallace
Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images

Conor McLaughlin

McLaughlin spent five years at Fleetwood between 2012-2017 before joining Millwall after making 172 appearances for the Cod Army. Joined Sunderland on a free transfer in July 2019 and was released by the club in the summer.

Sunderland v Lincoln City - Sky Bet League One
Conor McLaughlin
Photo by Andrew Vaughan - CameraSport via Getty Images

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