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Sunderland v Charlton Athletic - Sky Bet League One

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Match Preview: Accrington Stanley v Sunderland - Things are starting to feel serious again...

It’s getting close as we travel to Accrington for our penultimate friendly of pre-season before the real stuff starts next Sunday.

Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

Saturday 23rd July 2022

Accrington Stanley v Sunderland


Crown Ground

Kick-Off: 15:00

Tickets & Match Coverage

Tickets: Ticket not available.

TV/Stream: Full live match coverage is available here.

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...

How important are friendlies in terms of the bigger picture? This question is usually asked following a negative result during pre-season to be fair, and was the case after our last outing at Bradford City.

As Alex Neil stated in his post-match comments, his feeling on the matter was that he gleaned more out of his side in defeat than he may have taken if we had strolled to victory at Valley Parade.

Although we take on Hartlepool United in just over 48 hours time, you would expect that not too many vital cogs in the wheel will be risked on Monday and that it’s highly likely that we will see a shape and starting XI today, that could well be closer to what we see against Coventry City next Sunday.

Most players now have minutes under their belt to reach the required sharpness for the start of the season and it will be intriguing to see how we line up on what should be a ramp-up for most players ahead of the opening day.

Bradford City v Sunderland: Pre-Season Friendly
Alex Neil
Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Our opponents this afternoon are a side that many of us thought we’d seen the back of for a few years - at least it’s just a friendly.

The history between the two sides only goes back to December 2018 as a result of our drop into League One and the nine fixtures played between ourselves and Stanley have yet to see the Lads on the losing side.

The last fixture ended in a 1-1 draw, with a late equaliser from Stanley, which came in what was to be the final throws of the Lee Johnson era, as he took charge of only two games following the draw at the Crown Ground.

Last season was another season in mid-table with a 12th placed finish after ending up in 11th the previous year, as John Coleman continues to overachieve at the Crown Ground, and he will look to continue that this season as Stanley begin to look up the table rather than over their shoulders.

Accrington Stanley v Lincoln City - Sky Bet League One
John Coleman
Photo by Andrew Vaughan - CameraSport via Getty Images

Last time we met... at the Crown Ground

Saturday 15th January 2022

Sky Bet League One

Crown Ground

Accrington Stanley 1-1 Sunderland

[Clark 84’ (Sykes sent-off 76’) - O’Brien 48’]

Sunderland: Hoffman, Wright, Flanagan, Doyle, Cirkin, Neil, Dajaku, Embleton, Gooch, Pritchard (O’Brien), Stewart Substitutes Not Used: Patterson, T. Hume, D. Hume, Xhemajli, Diamond, Hawkes

Accrington Stanley: Savin, Clark, Amankwah, Butcher, Nottingham, Sykes, O’Sullivan (Longelo), Pell, Bishop, Hamilton, McConville (Rich-Baghuelou) Substitutes Not Used: Isherwood, Rodgers, Morgan, Nolan, Malcolm

Attendance: 4,498

Accrington Stanley v Sunderland - Sky Bet League One
The Crown Ground
Photo by Joe Prior/Visionhaus/Getty Images

Played for both...

John Mullin

John Mullin signed as Peter Reid’s first capture as Sunderland manager in July 1995 from Burnley. Mullin’s appearances were sporadic initially and would go on to make ten Premier League appearances following promotion, with a memorable winner in a 2-1 victory at Roker Park over Manchester United.

He also scored the last ever goal at Roker Park after scoring the winner in the ‘Farewell to Roker Park’ match against Liverpool in 1996. He would join Rotherham United after leaving the Stadium of Light and a move to Accrington Stanley followed as did a spell with Tranmere Rovers in 2008.

John Mullin
John Mullin

Gordon Armstrong

Gordon Armstrong made his debut a month after the defeat in the Milk Cup final to Norwich City and ended up as one of Sunderland’s top ten all-time appearance makers, ending his time on Wearside with 416 outings in a red and white shirt.

Armstrong’s eleven eventful years as a professional with Sunderland included three promotions, three relegations, a Play-Off final, a testimonial at Roker Park against Porto, and an FA Cup final. He was also the first Sunderland midfielder since Bobby Kerr to score 50 League goals for the club, which included a memorable last minute winner at Roker Park against Chelsea that took Sunderland to an FA Cup semi-final in 1992.

After leaving for Bury in 1996, Armstrong eventually joined Accrington Stanley in 2003, via five years with Burnley, where he made thirteen appearances in 2003-2004.

Soccer - Endsleigh League Division One - Notts County v Sunderland - Meadow Lane
Gordon Armstrong
Photo by Phil O’Brien/EMPICS via Getty Images


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