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Match Previews

Match preview: Sunderland v Morecambe

7 December 2021

The Shrimps are back on the road when they travel to Sunderland on Tuesday 7 November in Sky Bet League One.

Morecambe come into the game in high spirits after reaching the third round of the Emirates FA Cup on Saturday when they knocked out Northern Premier League side Buxton. Cole Stockton’s strike just before the half-hour mark proved the difference between the two teams at the Tarmac Silverlands Stadium. 
 
The two sides have faced each other twice before, but only in cup competitions. Sunderland were victorious in both clashes- first they won 2-0 in the League Cup back in 2012 before they beat the Shrimps 1-0 in the Football League Trophy three years ago. This will be the first time the two teams have met in a league match.
 
The Opposition
 
Form Guide
 
The Black Cats occupy one of the Play-Off places at present and are two points off Rotherham United in top spot. Sunderland have won two of their last five league games, against Cambridge United and Ipswich Town respectively. They have lost the other two and drawn one which was against Oxford United on Saturday.
 
As a player, manager Lee Johnson played for a number of clubs including Yeovil Town and Bristol City, and was also was capped five times for England C. At 31, he was appointed manager of Oldham Athletic in the same league as Yeovil Town who were managed by his father Gary Johnson at the time.
 
He was appointed Barnsley manager in February 2015 and led the club to the Football League Trophy final during the year he spent at Oakwell. He then joined Bristol City who he kept up after joining in February. Johnson went on to lead the club to the Semi-Finals of the League Cup, defeating Manchester United on the way and the following season, guided them to an eighth place finish in the Championship. Johnson was relieved of his duties after a poor run and took the Sunderland job in December 2020. He won the EFL Trophy with them in March this year and will endeavour to get the club promoted back to the Sky Bet Championship.
 
Sunderland’s key players
 
Current top scorer Ross Stewart has 10 goals to his name so far this season. The Scotsman made the move to Sunderland in the Summer from Ross County where he won the Scottish Championship. The 25-year-old first played senior football for Albion Rovers and then joined St Mirren.
 
Attacking midfielder Alex Pritchard started his career in the youth setup at West Ham United before moving to Tottenham Hotspur where he signed his first professional contract. He went out on loan to a number of clubs including Brentford and West Brom before signing for Norwich City for an undisclosed fee. Pritchard scored seven goals during his time with the Canaries and joined Huddersfield Town in January 2018 where he went on to make 80 appearances before signing for Sunderland in the summer. The 28-year-old has scored one goal so far this campaign and has contributed with an impressive six assists.
 
28-year-old Aiden O’Brien progressed through the youth team at Millwall and made nearly 200 appearances for the South London club, scoring 34 goals. The forward enjoyed a number of loan spells during his time at the Den. The Republic of Ireland international was released and signed for Sunderland in Summer 2020. This season, O’Brien has found the back of the net five times so far.
 
Shrimps’ pre-match thoughts
 
Boss Stephen Robinson said that the Shrimps aren’t frightened of anyone in the division.
 
“We are not frightened of anyone in this division, for me there is no one that has come and rolled us over, granted the scoreline against MK Dons suggests that, but the performance didn’t,” he said. 
 
“We won’t play any differently because we are going to the Stadium of Light, sometimes it is what you do on the ball rather than what you do off it, we have shown already this season that we can perform against some of the best sides in this division and Tuesday night will be no different.
 
“You have to embrace a game like Tuesday night, the size of the stadium, the crowd and the history of the football club, for Morecambe this is another game for the memory bank because it is probably a ground that they have never been to.”
 
Meet the men in black
 
Ollie Yates will be the man in the middle on Tuesday night. The Staffordshire-based official will be assisted by linesmen Christopher Ward and Ivan Stankovic, Matthew Dicicco will be the fourth official.
 
Yates has taken charge of 11 games this season and has awarded 39 yellow cards and one red. He last refereed the Shrimps last season when they faced Harrogate Town at home when Aaron Wildig scored the only goal of the game.
 
Don’t miss a kick with our iFollow coverage
 
After teaming up with Beyond Radio for the 2021/22 season, supporters will be able to listen to exclusive, full and uninterrupted radio commentary of every single game, home and away, which will be broadcast simultaneously across North Lancashire on 103.5 and 107.5FM, as well as on the iFollow Shrimps platform.
 
Joining host Dave Salmon is the club’s media assistant Matt Smith, audio passes are available from as little as £2.50 per match, £4.49 for a monthly pass or £45 for a season pass.
 
As well as full match commentary, the ‘Shrimps Verdict’ podcast will be available post-match, featuring online, on demand content, including audio match highlights, post-match interviews and reaction, and the chance for supporters to have their say.

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