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Match Preview: Sunderland v Blackburn Rovers - all you need to know ahead of kick-off!

Blackburn Rovers visit the Stadium of Light for today’s Boxing Day clash – here’s everything you need to know ahead of kick-off!

Photo by James Gill - Danehouse/Getty Images

Monday 26th December 2022

(13th) Sunderland v Blackburn Rovers (3rd)


Stadium of Light

Kick-Off: 12:30

Tickets & Match Coverage

Tickets: Tickets available via

TV/Stream: Full live match coverage is available via Sky Sports.

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!

The build-up...

It’s been 11 years since we took on Blackburn Rovers at the Stadium of Light and it feels a lot longer since seeing Martin O’Neill leaping in the air as we came from behind to win in his first game in charge.

Incidentally, if you want to hear his thoughts on that game and a whole lot more, you can listen to our recent podcast with Martin O’Neill here.

Following our trip to Ewood Park back in the middle of October, Tony Mowbray may feel that we may have one or two things to put right over his former club, after an atrocious refereeing display denied us taking anything back home from Lancashire.

To do this, however, we require a performance and a result on home soil, which haven’t been the easiest things to achieve this term. With only two wins from the last seven and three defeats in the last four at the Stadium of Light, our recent form highlights the need to improve our points tally at home.

It’s been four years since we won at home on Boxing Day, and we could do with three points today.

Hull City v Sunderland - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

It’s Blackburn’s 11th season outside of the top flight, which all but one have been spent in the Championship and it’s the fifth season since Tony Mowbray helped them back to the second tier from League One in 2018.

So far their league finishes have ranged between 8th-15th and it’s now Jon Dahl Tomasson’s job to take them to the next level after succeeding Mowbray last summer.

It’s a case of so far, so good for the ex-Newcastle United striker, with Rovers currently sitting third behind Burnley and Sheffield United who occupy the automatic spots.

Tomasson’s side are the only team in the division who are yet to register a draw, with 13 wins and 10 defeats on the board at the halfway point. Their away form is almost a toss of a coin with five wins and seven defeats on the road.

Maybe more significant is the fact that only two sides in the division have scored fewer on their travels than Blackburn - to put it into context they have bagged nine in 12 and we have scored almost double, with 17 in the same amount of games.

Rovers travel north following a 4-1 home defeat to Nottingham Forest in midweek in the League Cup - let’s hope they continue in that vein of form to provide a bit more festive cheer on Wearside today.

Blackburn Rovers v Preston North End - Sky Bet Championship
Blackburn Rovers manager Jon Dahl Tomasson
Photo by Alex Dodd - CameraSport via Getty Images

The betting...

The bookies have the Lads as favourites at 13/10 for the win, with Blackburn priced at 21/10 to pick up all three points and the draw is 11/5.

Head to head... in Sunderland

(All competitions)

  • Sunderland wins: 44
  • Draws: 12
  • Blackburn Rovers wins: 14
  • Sunderland goals: 148
  • Blackburn Rovers goals: 69

Last time we met... at the Stadium of Light

Sunday 11th December 2011

Barclays Premier League

Sunderland 2-1 Blackburn Rovers

[Vaughan 84’, Larsson 90’ - Vukcevic 17’]

Sunderland: Westwood, O’Shea, Brown, Bramble, Bardsley, Larsson, Colback (McClean), Vaughan, Richardson, Sessegnon, Wickham (Ji) Substitutes not used: Carson, Kilgallon, Meyler, Elmohamady, Noble

Blackburn Rovers: Robinson, Givet (Olsson), Salgado (Hanley), Dunn, Samba, Dann, Lowe, Formica, Yakubu, Vukevic, Gamst Pedersen Substitutes not used: Bunn, Blackman, Goodwillie, Roberts

Attendance: 39,863

Sunderland v Blackburn Rovers - Premier League
Martin O’Neill celebrating David Vaughan’s equaliser the last time we took on Blackburn Rovers at the Stadium of Light
Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

Played for both...

Michael Gray

After scoring within a minute of his full debut for Sunderland against Barnsley, the Castletown-born full-back didn’t look back. His Sunderland career spanned 11 years and 410 appearances, before he left to join Blackburn Rovers in 2004 after a loan spell at Celtic.

Gray spent three years at Ewood Park before moves to Wolverhampton Wanderers and Sheffield Wednesday ahead of hanging his boots up in 2010.

Blackburn Rovers v Sunderland
Michael Gray in action for Blackburn as they took on Sunderland in 2006
Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images


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