Jack Ross is proud that his side have turned the Stadium of Light from gracious point giver and home to the black kittens, to revered home fortress of the Black Cats. From featuring in articles detailing how a calendar year nearly passed without a home win (we missed out on that unwanted record by 24 hours if fans can’t remember the facts), to being on course for an unbeaten home season in the League, the turnaround has been monumental. Fans, players, manager and anyone else who has any connection to the club can be proud of this record.
“Our record at the stadium this season is good,”
“To get to only six home league matches remaining and not to have lost in the stadium, is very encouraging considering the record in the previous couple of years.
“So, we want to maintain that record, we want to maintain it with six victories between now and the end of the season in our stadium.
“To do that, we need to play well, but we also need that collective effort from everybody at the club, very much from the supporters to continue to give us the foundations to do that.
“I think each and every team that has come to the stadium has responded to the environment positively, which has not made it easy for us.
“They’ve all embraced it, not because we haven’t made it difficult because our home form has been good, our home performances have been good and the atmosphere that’s been created within the stadium has been good.
“Teams have needed to respond to it, and they have done that,” he continued. “If anything, that maybe gives them extra motivation and I suppose it would be the same if you were involved in the opposition and you were going somewhere else knowing that record is there.
“It’s a proud record, one that we want to remain in-tact. I think we spoke way back in August about the important of having that good home record to give ourselves a chance of success and thankfully with six games to go, we’ve done that and that’s the reason why we’ve still got a chance of achieving promotion.”
Argyle boss Adams has spoken of his team’s recent good form and has attempted to play down the occasion of playing Sunderland in a big stadium. He hopes that past success against top 6 sides will play a part in helping his Plymouth side come away with any points.
“It’s important that we look at how well we’ve played in recent times,”
“We are one of the form sides in the league and I think that is testament to the players and how well they have responded. The amount of opportunities that we have created in games, like last week against Rochdale where we won 5-1, we have got the confidence that we can go and score goals.
“We have shown this season that we can go away from home at the likes of Peterborough, in the top six, and beat them,”
“It is going to be important that we go there with the confidence we are showing at the moment and take the game to Sunderland.
“We will just leave earlier than we usually do and will go for a walk when we arrive in Sunderland, whatever time that may be.
“We will treat it as we usually do for an away game, we have obviously not been able to train on the Friday because of the eight or nine-hour coach trip."
What could go down?
Plymouth arrive on Wearside looking to play some football. They have ball players in midfield, pace and precision out wide and a deadly target man in Ladapo if he starts. The stats back this up in that wingers Ruben Lameiras has 11 goals to go with 4 assists while his partner in crime Graham Carey hasn’t been quite as lethal in front of goal, bagging 4 himself but he’s created 9. Star player and top scorer Ladapo has hit the back of the net an impressive 15 times this season.
They’ll try to control the midfield before hitting Sunderland down the flanks with pace or trying to fashion chances for Ladapo to run in behind. Sunderland have always struggled when teams get in behind their back four.
Sunderland don’t play massively differently from Plymouth but the full backs of Reece James and Luke O’Nien will be expected to provide some room for McGeady and Morgan to exploit. Stretching defences by playing high and wide along with the movement of Will Grigg has been essential to Sunderland’s recent success and the lads will have to follow this formula closely if they are to build on their momentum.
I really do expect Morgan to come in on the right, his trickery and decision making is excellent and he’s made enough cameos from the bench to justify a start today. Precision, quality and experience should see Sunderland take the three points today. Some fast build up to feed Will Grigg will create opportunities and Sunderland have managed to see off a number of teams in good form recently. Bristol Rovers being a perfect example of that as they had taken points off both Peterborough and Portsmouth before we took them on.
I’ve been terrible in recent weeks, but as long as the points keep coming I don’t really care. I don’t mind not being able to predict the score when we anyway! I really want Will Grigg to bag a couple of goals to get him started and I’d like to see Lewis Morgan rewarded, but that is asking for a lot. I think Jack Ross will have something up his sleeve to give us a tactical edge as well.
2-0 Sunderland because Plymouth’s top scorer might not make it onto the grass today.
Ha-way the lads!
Tell me what you think will go down…