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Sunderland v Burton Albion - Sky Bet League One

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Match Preview: Another ‘must win’ for Sunderland... but will we actually win?!

We just have to do this, we just have to do that, we just have to win... blah, blah, blah. Sunderland play Wigan today and need to win to break this rotten run. Can we do it? Erm... I’ll let you decide.

Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

It’s been just over a month since Sunderland last won a game - a 1-0 victory over Portsmouth at the Stadium of Light on the 22nd January.

Since then, we’ve played six times and picked up just two points.

Abysmal. That’s all there is to say, really. Abysmal.

Somehow, we’re still clinging onto our spot in the top six, but with a clutch of hungry sides below us in the table it’s imperative that we get back to winning ways soon - starting today.

I’ve been saying that for weeks, though, that we need to win - nothing has changed. We’re still absolutely desperate for a win, three points and the confidence boost that comes with it.

As good as Wigan are, we’ve already beaten them twice this season - psychologically, that must surely help, even despite the fact their side has changed so much since that first game at the start of the season.

We know we can do it, because the evidence is there for us all to see.

But, for whatever reason, it seems we’ve forgotten how good we can be.

Sunderland v Lincoln City - Sky Bet League One Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

That said, Wigan have gone from strength to strength and are good value for their position in the table - they deserve to be in the automatic spots, as evidenced by the way they tackle adversity in games head-on and always find a way to put points on the board.

They won’t be thinking too much about the fact we’ve beaten them twice this season - they’ll be looking to expose our most glaring weaknesses, and to be frank, simply outwork us. Their sights are set on securing that automatic promotion spot, and we’re just another opponent standing in their way.

What’s sad is that not too long ago we all thought that this would be a vitally important game in the race for the top two for both teams.

It’s safe to say we’re out of the running, but we still need to win.

Alex Neil’s task is to find a way of getting us out of the rut we’re in, and in his first three games as our Head Coach he’s failed to find the winning formula. How he picks the side today will determine where the game goes, and lots of fans are hoping that the inclusion of some of our January signings in the starting eleven will provide us with the spark needed.

Jack Clarke has impressed whenever he’s come on off the bench, and Patrick Roberts has proven himself at a higher level than League One - would it hurt to give them both a go?

We need someone to step up and be a hero, and both men have it in them to win games.

Sunderland v Burton Albion - Sky Bet League 1 Photo by Michael Driver/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

It’s still too early for Luke O’Nien, Nathan Broadhead and Aiden McGeady to rget involved, but they’re not a million miles away, and I’m hoping the impending competition for places that comes with those three men returning gives several of today’s starters a much-needed rocket up the arse.

Max Power will want to prove Sunderland wrong, and he’s been integral to Wigan’s success this season, notching four goals and eight assists in League One this season.

Up top, they’ve got goals in Will Keane (15) and Callum Lang (15), and good creativity from wide positions in the form of ex-Sunderland winger James McClean.

At the base of midfield are Sam Morsy and Graeme Shinnie - two Championship calibre players who will no doubt look to expose us in the position where we are arguably weakest. Whoever starts in the centre of the park for Sunderland this afternoon needs to be up for a battle.

I don’t really know what to say that hasn’t already been said - we need to win, and need to win quick. We all know it, the head coach knows it, the players know it - and it won’t be the 5000 fans in attendance that can do anything about it. Only the players and Alex Neil can go out there, fight for every ball, win every battle and stick the ball in the net.

Over to you, fellas.


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