Sports. Honestly. Since 2011

Sunderland’s Festive Fixtures Can Bring Good Points Return

As the Black Cats head into the Christmas season, Sunderland's festive fixtures give them a good chance to climb the table.

The first season following promotion is rarely easy, with many teams struggling to adapt to the higher level throughout the years. However, Sunderland, following their promotion to the Championship via the playoffs have surprised many and currently sit comfortably in mid-table and just four points adrift from the top six despite a disappointing defeat at home to West Bromwich Albion on Monday. 

Sunderland’s festive fixtures this year have the potential to bring a good points return and move the Black Cats further up the table. With the key players returning, it could be the season of cheer on Wearside this Christmas. 

Sunderland’s Festive Fixtures Can Bring Christmas Cheer to Fans

Injured Players Returning 

The break for the World Cup came at a good time for Sunderland’s injured players. Tony Mowbray is slowly seeing his squad edge towards full strength with several other key players expected to return soon.

Striker Ross Stewart has stepped up his training and played 60 minutes of a behind-closed-doors friendly recently. Should the Black Cats star striker show no reaction to the injury sustained earlier this season then his long-awaited comeback could come before Christmas.

Defender Dan Ballard, like Stewart, has been a long-term absentee and has also been increasing his training and should be in contention for the festive season.

Winger Jewison Bennette and defender Bailey Wright returned following their trip to the World Cup with Costa Rica and Australia. Both are short on fitness but are expected to be in contention sooner rather than later.

Midfielder Edouard Michut has been missing for several weeks. Tony Mowbray gave an update on the 19-year-old on loan from Paris Saint-Germain. He said: “He hasn’t played for four, five, six weeks. But he has trained and some fitness work but he feels he is ready having not kicked a ball. I’m trying to explain to him that it’s hard to come in not having kicked a ball in the Championship.

“His talent is obvious. He’s a good footballer. A lad who was training with Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappe but he needs to train every day in my mind.”

Home Games: Blackburn Rovers

Just one game will be played at the Stadium of Light over the Christmas and New Year holidays. Tony Mowbray’s former club Blackburn Rovers visit Wearside on Boxing Day with a large crowd expected. The Black Cats lost at Ewood Park earlier in the season during a time when they were without a recognised striker. Despite falling to a 2-0 defeat, Mowbray’s men were the better team for large parts.

Sunderland’s home form this season has been at best inconsistent, therefore a victory in their final game on Wearside for 2022 would be welcome. However, just three games have been won at home so far and another tough afternoon is expected against a Rovers side who currently sit in third position.

Away Games: Hull City, Wigan Athletic and Blackpool

Sunderland’s away form has been a highlight of their season so far. Five games have been won on their travels and with three games against teams in the bottom four, there is optimism that more wins on the road are on their way.

First is a trip to Hull City. Under new management following the sacking of Shota Arveladze, Liam Rosenior has been given the task of guiding the Tigers away from the relegation zone. Hull have managed just three clean sheets so far; however, two of those have come in Rosenior’s four games in charge.

Following the Boxing Day game against Blackburn, the Black Cats travel to Wigan Athletic. They will be joined by 4500 of Sunderland’s red and white army who will be hoping for their second victory over the Latics this season.

Despite winning League One last season, the Latics have struggled so far and sacked manager Leam Richardson in November. Kolo Touré, the former Arsenal and Manchester City has been appointed in what is his first managerial job. So far Touré has been in charge of one game a draw at Millwall. Before Sunderland’s visit, the Latics will face Sheffield United and Middlesbrough.

Last up for the festive season is a trip to Blackpool on New Year’s Day. The Seasiders are currently 23rd in the table having won six of their 22 games so far. The game at the Stadium of Light finished 0-0 earlier this season.

Blackpool boss Michael Appleton, appointed during the summer will be hoping his side are in a more comfortable league position before Sunderland’s visit. His team face Hull City and Cardiff City, two teams close to them in the league before Sheffield United and the Black Cats visit to round off their festive fixtures.

Tony Mowbray Has Message Ahead of Sunderland’s Festive Fixtures

Following the disappointment of Monday night at the Stadium of Light, head coach Tony Mowbray believes that his team can get positive results over the festive season. He said: “There are a lot of games coming up over this festive period and who’s to say we can’t win?

“We’ve had some good results on the road recently so without knowing the fixture list exactly, Hull City, then Blackburn, who have suffered some heavy defeats recently, Blackpool, Wigan.

“They are not West Brom or Burnley, they are teams that we should be believing, as we believe we can in every game, they are games that we should attack.

“Recently we have beaten Huddersfield away and beaten Birmingham away, so there is no reason we can’t go to these places and be really positive and get results.”

Main Picture
Embed from Getty Images


More Posts