Sunderland's next five fixtures: How will we do? Top by Christmas?

After taking six points from six in our past two games, it is time to kick on and start making our mark in this league. I take a look at the next five fixtures and what we should be hoping to get out of them.

by Molly_Burke Tuesday, 23 October 2018 09:10 AM Comments

Things are looking very positive for Sunderland after our 2-0 victory over Shrewsbury yesterday. We currently sit in third place with one game in hand - only one point outside the automatic promotion spots. 

Despite our impressive start to our League One campaign, there has been doubts whether we have been good enough to succeed in winning promotion, as while we have picked up plenty of points, our performances haven't been quite as good as the scorelines often suggest. 

With two wins in a row under our belt, it is time to kick on and show the league what we are made of. So how will we fair over the next five games if we are to really push for automatic promotion? 

Doncaster Rovers (A)

Next up for the lads is a midweek trip to Doncaster, who currently sit in sixth place, only one point behind us. Since our game last week against Blackpool was postponed, we originally found ourselves below Doncaster in the table prior to our win over Shrewsbury. 

Tuesday night fixtures are always tough having only played the weekend before and Rovers are likely to prove to be a difficult test for Sunderland, who have only come up against one of the current top six sides so far. 

However, Grant McCann's side have only managed to pick up one league win in October, having succumbed to a 4-0 hammering by Fleetwood Town earlier in the month.

One thing that will worry Sunderland fans is the league's joint top goal scorer John Marquis, who - like Josh Maja - has claimed nine goals so far this season.

After taking three points away from New Meadow yesterday despite an somewhat average performance, I can see us taking a draw away from Doncaster on Tuesday. However, if we are capable of performing the way we did against Peterborough, we may be able to nick a win.

Southend United (H) 

Next weekend will see Southend make the long journey up to the other end of the country. The Shrimpers are currently sitting in mid table, winning as many games as they have lost so far this season - six each.

Southend's results have seemed rather inconsistent, with the side unable to pick up a good run but instead winning a few games here and there. However, they have only lost once since mid September and after failing to beat Coventry yesterday they will be looking to make a comeback in their upcoming games against Walsall and the Black Cats.

After picking up two wins from two, I can't see us losing out to Southend and I am pretty confident we will manage to continue our unbeaten home run next weekend.

Plymouth (A) 

Sunderland will head to Plymouth for their first game of November as they take on a side that currently sit bottom of the table, having only managed one win all season.

Their sole victory came when they beat AFC Wimbledon 1-0 earlier in the month, but The Pilgrims failed to kick on and have lost their last three games since.

Freddie Ladapo - who claimed a brace in their loss against Burton Albion yesterday - appears to be their main threat, but with Plymouth having conceded almost double the amount of goals Sunderland have, I can't see them being able to stop the likes of Maja, Gooch and Maguire. I would hope this would be an easy win for us.

Wycombe Wanderers (H)

Next up Sunderland will face newly promoted Wycombe Wanderers at the Stadium of Light - a fixture that former Chairboys man Luke O'Nien is likely to be looking forward to.

Wycombe started the season poorly, claiming only one win in the whole of August and September. However, it is starting to look like things are turning around for Gareth Ainsworth's side, who fought out victories over Burton Albion and Scunthorpe United recently - despite being 2-0 down in the first seven minutes to the latter.

Wycombe are likely to be tough opposition, but if we are unable to defeat a side that sit in 17th - and have barely upgraded their League Two squad of last season - then I will be disappointed. 

Walsall (A) 

Walsall had a very impressive start to the season, going unbeaten till mid September and finding themselves in the top six. However, since a 4-1 defeat to Doncaster, things haven't been as positive for them and after losing out to Luton Town yesterday they have dropped out of the top six.

With The Saddlers set to face Southend on Tuesday it is likely that they will be challenging for a promotion-winning spot again and our visit to the West Midlands is likely to be an important fixture for both sides.

I would like to think we would be capable of beating Walsall, but given they have the home advantage I can see us taking a point back to the North East. 

 

If we are to challenge for a top two spot come the end of the season then we have to start winning convincingly and if the next five games go as planned, we will be in a very good spot come December. Following the trip to Walsall we will also have a host of tough fixtures against the likes of Barnsley, Accrington Stanley and Portsmouth; so we will need to pick up us many points as possible prior to that. 

Tags

Sunderland, wycombe, walsall, doncaster, southend, plymouth