Match Preview


Tuesday, 18 October 2022

We spoke to Dan from Sunderland fanzine A Love Supreme to get the lowdown on tonight’s opponents as Tony Mowbray makes his first Rovers return since leaving the club in May.

You guys have been in the top half for most of the season – does that represent a satisfactory start after promotion? 

In the summer, a top 10 finish would have been the perfect return to the Championship. Personally, I’m happy this year as long as we’re not in a relegation scrap after so many years of ups and (mostly) downs. 

What are your early impressions of TM – does he seem to have the full backing of the support?

He was a bit of a deflating appointment at first. The whole Alex Neil situation was bizarre and many fans still believed Neil was the right man for the job. But Tony was smart enough to realise that the team was doing well under Neil, and has kept pretty much the same team that Alex was playing. He’s made the most of a pretty terrible situation with both of our strikers injured, playing a system that tries to utilise our good wide talent such as Clarke and Roberts. He’s bought into the transfer philosophy at the club, and been an important part of our new signings’ slow integration into the side (Amad Diallo, Edouard Michut, Abdoullah Ba and Jewison Bennette). 

How many times has he said “frustraaaating”? 

Not too many, as results have been pretty solid. But we’ve been warned about that being his buzz word when things don’t go his way! 

What formation and style of play has he been using so far? 

He started off by using Alex Neil’s 3-5-2, but with injuries to Stewart and Simms he’s now switched to a 4-3-3 using one of our wingers as a ‘false 9’ up front. 

Which Sunderland player might cause us some trouble tonight?

Jack Clarke has been our main goal threat since our strikers have been out of the team, and continued his great form with a goal against Swansea. He’s played left wing back, left winger, right winger and striker this season! Patrick Roberts will always be a threat, and young Costa Rican Jewison Bennette looks like a really exciting player who could come on as an impact sub and torture your tired defenders. 

What’s your score prediction? Goal scorers? 

You have to be optimistic, don’t you? I reckon SAFC will find a way to get scoring again with a 2-1 win, goals coming from Clarke and Amad, who has looked bright in glimpses. 

Has Corry Evans missed many games for you?

He missed loads of games in League One last season, and under Lee Johnson looked like a player whose mobility had been totally reduced due to injury. But he thrived under Alex Neil and now seems to be managing his injuries really well, playing twice a week at times. (Note: probably worth mentioning he missed last weekend's game vs Wigan after picking up 5 yellows) 

How serious is the Sunderland/Boro rivalry and to what extent does that history tarnish Mowbray’s appointment?

It’s a strange rivalry, as Boro hate us but we don’t care about them at all! Sunderland fans aren’t really bothered about his Boro history (I’m sure we’ll use it as a stick to beat him with when things start to go wrong) but I know a couple of Middlesbrough fans who feel really betrayed by Mowbray’s decision to come to Wearside. 

Danny Graham… how great was he?

The less said the better. And that goes for both of his spells here.

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