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

We return to the Stadium of Light with a point to prove after a goalless draw last time out – and the visit of Birmingham City provides an opportunity to put it right. Here’s all you need to know ahead of kick-off!

Photo by Dave Howarth - CameraSport via Getty Images

Saturday 11th November 2023

(8th) Sunderland v Birmingham City (15th)


Stadium of Light

Kick-Off: 12:30pm

Tickets & Match Coverage

Tickets: Tickets are 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...

Last weekend's goalless draw in South Wales is yet another that provides a free personality test to every Sunderland fan.

Are you the type that considered it a poor performance because we didn’t hit the back of the hit, the type who thought it was one of those days, or are you somewhere in between? As always, there’s no right or wrong answer; it’s all part of following the Lads, and it’s all good fun debating these things – although I’m told it’s not much fun on social media.

Tony Mowbray appeared as frustrated as anyone after the final whistle, in not only our lack of a final ball/finish at the top end of the pitch, but also the way both of our first-choice central defenders are unavailable for today’s lunchtime kick-off against Wayne Rooney’s Birmingham City.

The majority of the chatter ahead of the game will be around what the manager will do with Luke O’Nien and Dan Ballard missing – will he change personnel, or will we see a change of system? All eyes will be on the starting XI once it’s announced.

Our record against the Blues on home soil hasn’t been bad over recent years, with the Lads unbeaten in the last six against Birmingham in all competitions at the Stadium of Light.

We have to go back to August 2006 when it was bizarrely Niall Quinn in our dugout and Steve Bruce opposite him as manager of Blues as a Mikael Forssell penalty five minutes before half-time separated the two sides.

Sunderland v Norwich City - Sky Bet Championship - Stadium of Light Photo by Will Matthews/PA Images via Getty Images

Like a number of other clubs in the division, Birmingham City may consider themselves stuck in a Championship rut. This season is their 13th in the second tier, and for the last seven seasons they have finished no higher than 17th in the table.

This was one of the many reasons why it seemed so odd that the Blues parted with manager John Eustace on the 9th of October with the club sitting 6th in the table.

It was decided that a new direction was required by American business owner Tom Wagner, with NFL star Tom Brady as his co-owner, and it was maybe no surprise that Wayne Rooney was the man to lead the way as he had recently vacated his role with DC United in the US.

This new beginning hasn’t exactly hit the ground running and has seen them drop to 15th in the table. The first three fixtures in the Rooney era ended in defeat, and the first point was picked up in their last fixture at the weekend at home to Ipswich Town – where two late goals from the visitors denied Rooney an impressive first victory.

However, their away form is beginning to look ominous, with five successive defeats on the road coming off the back of a win and a draw in their opening two away from home. Only three sides have picked up fewer points, and only Sheffield Wednesday and Rotherham United have scored fewer on their travels. I imagine their away following are planning a fun trip out today.

Birmingham City v Ipswich Town - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Graham Chadwick/Getty Images

Sunderland home form...

Birmingham City away form...

The betting...

The bookies have the Lads as big favourites this afternoon at 4/6, while an away win is priced at around 18/5, and the draw is 27/10.

Head to head... at Sunderland

(All competitions)

  • Sunderland wins: 38
  • Draws: 10
  • Birmingham City wins: 13
  • Sunderland goals: 119
  • Birmingham City goals: 64

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

Saturday 15th April 2023


Sunderland 2-1 Birmingham City

[Hume 45’, Diallo 75’ (Cirkin sent-off 78’) - Hall 29’]

Sunderland: Patterson, Gooch (O’Nien), Batth, Hume, Cirkin, Roberts (Anderson), Neil, Michut (Gelhardt), Clarke, Diallo (Ekwah), Pritchard Substitutes not used: Bass, Ba, Lihadji

Birmingham City: Ruddy, Colin, Trusty, Bacuna, Roberts, Long, Chong, Bielik (James), Jutkiewicz (Hogan), Hall (Bellingham), Khadra (Mejbri) Substitutes not used: Etheridge, Dean, Chang

Attendance: 39,659

Sunderland v Birmingham City - Sky Bet Championship
Amad Diallo celebrates scoring the winner when the two sides last met at the Stadium of Light back in April
Photo by Michael Driver/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Played for both...

Kevin Phillips

If you’re reading this as a Sunderland fan and don’t know everything there is to know about Kevin Phillips’ time on Wearside then you should read more, or watch YouTube, or well anything else... because it was some ride.

Signed for an initial fee of something in the region of £350,000 from Watford in 1997, he broke all sorts of records over his first three years with the club during a period where he just couldn’t stop scoring. This all peaked in 1999-2000 when he claimed the Premier League Golden Boot and European Golden Shoe Award. Fun times.

He left for Southampton in 2003, and after spells with Aston Villa and West Bromwich Albion, he joined Birmingham City in 2008, where he’d spend around three years. Moves to Blackpool, Crystal Palace and Leicester City followed before hanging up his boots and making the move into coaching and management.

Palace v Sunderland Kevin Phillips
A familiar scene during Kevin Phillips time on Wearside...


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