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

The first of two home games in the space of four days that have the potential to make or break any play-off aspirations as Birmingham City make the trip to the Stadium of Light this afternoon.

Photo by James Gill - Danehouse/Getty Images

Saturday 15th April, 2023

(10th) Sunderland v Birmingham City (17th)


Stadium of Light

Kick-Off: 15:00

Tickets & Match Coverage

Tickets: Tickets are available via

TV/Stream: Full live match coverage is available via

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...

Four points off the play-off positions with five games remaining - this is the scenario we find ourselves in going into the remaining four weeks of the season.

Most of us would have taken that without missing a beat, especially when the first two of those five fixtures are at home to opposition from the bottom eight of the table. Having said that, with only three fixtures left at the Stadium of Light this season there are only five teams with a worse record on their own patch than ourselves.

This is highlighted by the fact that we haven’t won on home soil in the last five games as we have to look back to our 1-0 victory over Reading at the Stadium of Light on the 11th February for our last victory there.

On the plus side, we’re on a run where we’ve only suffered one loss in the last six games, but to confuse things, we’ve won one in the last five - statistics that conveniently show our inconsistent nature this term, but putting back-to-back wins together against Birmingham City today and Neil Warnock’s Huddersfield Town on Tuesday could set things up for an exciting run-in.

Cardiff City v Sunderland - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Ian horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

A new chapter could be beginning at St Andrews as the club have entered a period of exclusive negotiations with prospective buyers. Considering this is the 12th successive season they have begun a season in the Championship since relegation from the Premier League, a change would be much welcomed.

The previous six seasons has seen the Blues finish in the bottom eight positions in the table and with John Eustace’s side currently sitting 17th, history could well repeat itself this term.

The nine point gap between themselves and Reading, who occupy the last relegation position in the bottom three, should be more than enough to see them stay in the division for a 13th year.

On the road, Birmingham have won two of the last ten in the league, but more recently their form has been decent with two wins and two draws from the last four fixtures.

Reading v Birmingham City - Sky Bet Championship
Birmingham City manager John Eustace
Photo by Malcolm Couzens/Getty Images

The betting...

The bookies fancy the Lads to claim all three points this afternoon with odds of 10/11, with Birmingham priced at 3/1 and the draw is around 12/5.

Head to head... at Sunderland

(All competitions)

  • Sunderland wins: 37
  • Draws: 10
  • Birmingham City wins: 13
  • Sunderland goals: 117
  • Birmingham City goals: 63

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

Saturday 23rd December, 2017


Sunderland 1-1 Birmingham City

[Grabban 21’ - Gallagher 16’ (Gallagher sent-off 67’)]

Sunderland: Ruiter, Love, Browning, O’Shea, Wilson, Matthews, Gibson (Ndong), Gooch, Honeyman, Vaughan (Asoro), Grabban (Maja) Substitutes not used: Steele, Oviedo, McGeady, McManaman

Birmingham City: Stockdale, Colin, Grounds, Gardner, Morrison, Dean, Jota (Davis), Kieftenbeld, Gallagher, N’Doye (Jutkiewicz), Boga (Maghoma) Substitutes not used: Trueman, Nsue, Bramall, Gleeson

Attendance: 29,312

Sunderland v Birmingham City - Sky Bet Championship
Sam Gallagher is shown the red card when the two sides last met at the Stadium of Light
Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Played for both...

Gary Breen

After successful spells at Peterborough United and Birmingham City, Gary Breen signed for Coventry City for £2.5 million in 1997 where he’d stay for the next five years.

His performances for the Republic of Ireland during the 2002 World Cup would see his stock rise and this led to links with Barcelona and also a move to Inter Milan that broke down at the final hour due to a failed medical. He eventually signed for West Ham United on a free transfer.

A Mick McCarthy bargain for Sunderland, Gary Breen signed on a free transfer the following summer and would play 115 times for Sunderland that included lifting the Championship trophy as captain in 2005.

Soccer - Coca-Cola Football League Championship - Sunderland v Stoke City - Stadium of Light Photo by Mike Egerton - PA Images via Getty Images


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