Friday 7th April 2023
(12th) Sunderland v Hull City (17th)
Stadium of Light, Sunderland.
Kick off: 5.30pm
Tickets & Match Coverage
Tickets: Around 40,000 tickets have been sold so far, but tickets are still available online and from the ticket office.
TV/Stream: The game will be shown live on 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 www.RokerReport.com!
Seven points off a play-off place with seven games left. It’s a scenario I’m sure the majority of Sunderland supporters would have settled for at the start of the season, and the fact those seven games are, in Tony Mowbray’s view, ‘winnable’, creates the impression that we’re remaining open to the possibility of making the top six.
Mowbray did say a few weeks ago that he’d be looking to rotate the squad a bit after Burnley, so we could see a change or two and some of the fringe players getting more of a look in.
Down on Humberside, Hull – who were among the favourites to be challenging at the top end of the table – are going through a bit of a transition. After ditching Shota Arvaladze as manager in October, Liam Rosenior, who spent a few years at Hull as a player, took the reins after a spell as Derby’s interim manager.
Rosenior has a very specific style of play, which involves a slow build-up from the back – think Sunderland under Poyet – and it’s one where performances have probably been better than results suggest.
He’s made them tight, as 10 draws in his 21 games in charge testify to, and has steered them safe from relegation. Of those 22 games, however, he’s lost only six and won only six, and recent form on paper has been poor – with one win and six draws in 11, scoring seven but conceding just 11 – six of those coming in two games.
Hull’s poor results has prompted media stories that Rosenior’s future as Hull boss is under threat. The chairman dampened those rumours (vote of confidence, anyone?) but there’s no smoke without fire, as they say... Rosenior went on the offensive this week, describing his spell in charge so far as ‘near miracle stuff’, so it’s certainly one to watch in the championship over the coming weeks.
Still, Hull are only six points behind us in the table. They don’t concede too many, and like to keep it tight, so it’ll be a tough game for the lads – and we may need to rely on a moment of magic to win the game.
Last time out, Hull failed to trouble a Rotherham team featuring Bailey Wright in the heart of the defence. Playing at home, Hull mustered just one shot on target in the whole game, which finished 0-0. They’ve won only one of the last 11 – that being a credible 2-0 victory over West Brom.
For balance, our record over the last eight fixtures is poor on paper too – one win, three draws and four defeats – so we’re not exactly coming into the game on the back of blistering form, either.
Last five games: Hull W1 D3 L1, Sunderland W1 D2 L2
The opposition view
In the build-up to the game, Hull boss Liam Rosenior told Hull’s official website:
It’s a great game, we’re away to a massive club and we’re taking an unbelievable amount of fans again. That’s why you’re in football. It’s a great benchmark for us. Can we go there and dominate and control a game away at Sunderland? They are a very good young team with a very good manager who do things in a way that I really, really like.
Tony’s done an incredible job. He’s got a lot of talent, but a lot of youth in that squad and they’re an exciting team to watch. I really like the way that they play and we’re going to have to go there and be really good defensively but also play our way.
If we keep talking about where we want to get to in a long term, then this [playing in front of 40,000+ at the Stadium of Light] is the type of challenge that we need to to enjoy. And that’s the way that I see it. I can’t wait to go there to see us go and express ourselves and play the way that we want to play.
Hull: Top scorer Oscar Estupinan is missing through injury, as is loanee striker Aaron Connolly. Attacking midfielder Dimitrios Pelkas, on loan from Fenerbache, is fit and will return to the squad.
Sunderland: In his press conference, Tony Mowbray said that Dennis Cirkin and Alex Pritchard were fit and would be involved. Aside from our raft of long-term injured, and Dan Ballard missing with the injury picked up on international duty, we don’t have any new injuries to report.
The man in the middle
Keith Stroud is the fella with the whistle today, and he’ll hopefully be keen to make amends after a disastrous showing at the Stadium of Light against Swansea earlier this year when he was bullied into showing Luke O’Nien a red card by Swansea’s players, and then went on to turn in an inept display. To be fair, he’s also taken our games at home to Wigan and away to Bristol City this season without major incident, and was also the ref the last time we played Hull at home, back in 2018. Still, I’ve never forgiven him for disallowing Kieren Richardson’s free-kick away at Fulham.
Sunderland are priced at even money while Hull are 3/1 to win the fixture. Joe Gelhardt is favourite to net Sunderland’s first at 4/1, while Jack Clarke is an appealing 10/1 shot.
Head to head... at Sunderland
- Games played: 22
- Sunderland wins: 14
- Draws: 2
- Hull City wins: 6
- Sunderland goals: 34
- Hull City goals: 18
Last time we met... at The Stadium of Light
Saturday 20th January 2018
Sunderland 1-0 Hull City
One of only three home wins in a wretched season, Chris Coleman’s Sunderland came out on top against Nigel Adkin’s team, which featured David Meyler, Seb Larsson and Frazier Campbell.
Sunderland: Ruiter, Jones (Matthews 34), Browning, O’Shea, Clarke-Salter, Oviedo, Cattermole, Honeyman, Robson, Maja (Gooch 87), Asoro. Substitutes not used: Galloway, Love, McManaman, McGeady, Steele.
Hull City: McGregor, Tomori, Aino, Meyler, Dawson, Hector, Toral (Irvine 69), Larsson, Campbell (Keane 76), Evandro (Dicko 79), Bowen. Substitutes not used: Marshall, Mazuch, Henriksen.
Played for both...
One of the best keepers to play for Sunderland, Tony Norman was a custodian who was ahead of his time. One of the first keepers who played with the ball at their feet, he inspired a generation of keepers to be comfortable with the ball on the deck as well as in their hands. A Welsh international, Norman was mightily unfortunate to have his international path blocked by the brilliant Neville Southall, and joined Sunderland from Hull in 1988, ending Denis Smith’s near two-year quest to replace Iain Hesford. Norman spent eight years at Hull, playing more than 400 games, before enjoying a seven-year stay at Roker, during which he played 227 games, won promotion to the top flight, and played in an FA Cup Final, too. He left Sunderland after Peter Reid’s appointment, joining Huddersfield for a season, and was in goal for the famous game at Roker when Michael Bridges came on as sub and scored two to clinch a vital three points in our journey to the title.
One of Sunderland’s true legends, Horatio Stratton Carter played 278 times for the club, scoring 128 goals, winning the FA Cup and Charity Shield in 1937, before his Sunderland career was cruelly curtailed by war, aged 26, in 1939. Come 1945, the now 32-year-old Carter joined Derby after Sunderland refused his request for a ten-year contract, and he became the only player to win the FA Cup either side of the war. In March 1948, he joined Hull as player/assistant manager, and was player/manager within a month. He led The Tigers to the Division Three North title and FA Cup Quarter Final, before joining Leeds as manager, via a brief spell with Cork City. He led Leeds to promotion to the top flight, before spells at Mansfield and Middlesbrough. A true footballing great, Raich Carter has the quirky claim to fame of being the only Sunderland player to appear at Madame Tussauds. We’ve had more than a few players do passable impressions of waxwork dummies, but Raich was the real deal.
The term ‘old fashioned centre forward’ was made for Billy Whitehurst – but it actually does him a bit of a disservice. A battler, no doubt, Whitehurst was as brave and robust as they come, and could play a bit too. He signed for Denis Smith from Reading early in the 88-89 season, strangely took Marco Gabbiadini’s number 10 shirt while partnering Gabbas upfront, scored a handful of goals, including a brilliant diving header at home to Leeds in a 2-1 win, before being sold to Hull in part exchange for Tony Norman in December 1988. His spell at Sunderland lasted a mere four months, and when he returned to Roker with Hull in the February, he was shown red for an altercation with Gordon Armstrong. He’d already spent five years at Boothferry Park in the early 80s – by far the longest he stayed anywhere in a nomadic career that saw him stop off at Oxford, Newcastle, Sheffield United and Stoke, among other places.