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Stoke City v Sunderland - Sky Bet Championship

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Fan Focus: Stoke fan Daniel is predicting an away win to inflict more misery on Michael Beale!

We spoke to Stoke fan Daniel Buxton of the Every Step Along The Way Podcast ahead of today’s game, to find out more about what the Potters have to offer. What can Sunderland expect from Steven Schumacher’s side?

Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Last time we spoke we were discussing an under-pressure Alex Neil - what do you think were the key factors in him losing his job?

A lack of attacking threat, goals and no clear path or progression in style.

We looked lost on an ever-increasing basis towards the end of his tenure.


There was a massive player turnover at Stoke in the summer, how many of those do you think Neil chose and do you think the turnover is behind Stoke underachieving?

I think he chose the early ones through the door like Enda Stevens, Lynden Gooch, Ben Pearson, Daniel Johnson, etc but I think Jared Dublin can be credited (or not depending on the player in question) with a lot of the summer recruitment.

Sheffield United v Sunderland - Sky Bet Championship - Bramall Lane
Alex Neil will feature on Season Three of Sunderland Till I Die, which focuses on Sunderland’s promotion from League One.
Photo by Isaac Parkin/PA Images via Getty Images

The man to replace Neil is ex-Plymouth coach Steven Schumacher - how has he faired so far a month into his tenure?

Really good!

He’s given everyone a lift and seems to just have a much more personable way of expressing himself.

He’s all for building a family-style bond between everyone associated with the club and it’s helped to rebuild some long-burnt bridges between the playing squad and fanbase.


The first player I wanted to ask you about was of course Lynden Gooch, how has he got on this season?

You won’t be surprised to know he’s shown that he gives 100% every time he pulls on the shirt and has never let us down despite being deployed in various positions across defence and even on the wing.

Plymouth Argyle v Stoke City - Sky Bet Championship
Lynden Gooch has scored twice in 20 games so far for Stoke, captaining the club on occasions.
Photo by Harry Trump/Getty Images

Stoke have signed Leicester goalkeeper Dan Iversen on loan - what has he brought to the team?

Everyone was praying for a goalkeeper as Jack Bonham, although improving as time goes on, has made just more than one too many mistakes unfortunately.

We’d solved that and looked a lot better with Mark Travers until Bournemouth decided to recall him because they were short of a reserve keeper for about 3 days, so it’s nice to get another good, steady keeper in.


Last time we spoke you highlighted Ben Pearson and Andre Vidigal as your best signings so far, is this still the case or has anyone else stepped up?

Wouter bloody Burger! How we have managed to get this guy, at 22, to give up the latter stages of European competitions with Basel to sign for a club that’s been bottom half of the Championship for half a decade I don’t know.

We do Man of the Match polls after each game and he’s already got 10 this season, the previous record for a season is 8, and he has been unleashed under Schumacher.

He seems a complete midfielder whose game was criminally strangled and contained under Neil, if he’d let him express himself (and the other technical players now flourishing like Junho) then I imagine he’d still have a job.

Stoke City v Sunderland - Sky Bet Championship - bet365 Stadium
Sunderland’s last victory against Stoke came in 2022, with Ross Stewart scoring.
Photo by Nigel French/PA Images via Getty Images

How do you think Schumacher will set up tactically at the Stadium of Light?

He will look to be positive, play forwards and keep the ball moving at all times.

If we play a back four expect the full-backs to spend a lot of time in central midfield roaming around and we will get players up and around Mmaee up front.


Which eleven players do you think he will start?

Iversen will start in goal. If we go with the 4-1-2-3 formation then I can see Gooch coming in at right back as Hoever had a bit of a shocker against Sikiri Dembele last weekend and Jack Clarke is a Championship full-backs final boss this season.

Thompson seems to really get what’s expected of the full-backs currently so will stay in at LB, and I can see Wilmot replacing McNally to partner Rose at CB.

Burger will play in front of the defence with Baker and Cundle ahead of him, all three looking to keep the ball flowing and moving forward at pace but with purpose and Baker will always look to get shots away from the edge of the box whenever he can.

I can see Mmaee keeping his spot down the middle, Junho on the left and Tyrese Campbell making his first start after injury on the right replacing Vidigal.


Sunderland have lost their last two matches against Stoke, what is your score prediction for this time around?

I’m going to say that the first goal is crucial so I think we will get it and then get another in the second half to win 2-0.


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