Sunderland will be looking to get their promotion hunt back on track as they travel to the North West to take on Blackpool.
It hasn’t been an easy couple of weeks for Sunderland who have gone four games without a win, a run which has seen them drop out of the Sky Bet League One play-off places. The Black Cats are level on points with Peterborough United and Wycombe Wanderers but these two sides both have games in hand that could see Phil Parkinson’s side slide down the table even more.
Parkinson will be looking for a reaction from his players following Tuesday’s woeful performance which ended in another defeat on the road this time at the hands of Bristol Rovers. Jonson Clarke-Harris struck twice to condemn Sunderland to a second defeat in three, with league leaders Coventry City also defeating the Black Cats in recent weeks.
Blackpool could be the ideal opponent for Sunderland to kick-start their play-off surge as the Tangerines are enduring a difficult campaign themselves. Just like the Black Cats, Blackpool were tipped by many to be in and around the promotion places but found themselves slipping into 13th place on Tuesday night with a defeat of their own. Tranmere Rovers inflicted that defeat on Neil Critchley’s side which proves that Sunderland can get themselves a decent result on the road this weekend.
Here are TWO Sunderland players who could return to the starting 11 this weekend…
The inclusion of Gooch on this list might come across as tough on Antoine Semenyo – the Bristol City loanee was one of the only Sunderland players who could take any credit from their performance from the midweek defeat. The Black Cats were unable to find the net again on Tuesday night and appeared to be missing that creative force that has got them over the line in recent weeks.
Lynden Gooch on the left hand side of the Sunderland system has been a great source of end-product so far this campaign with the American finding the net 10 times. He plays such a pivotal role alongside Chris Maguire in Parkinson’s system as he drifts inside and wins the second balls have come off either Charlie Wyke or Kyle Lafferty.
There could be a call for Semenyo to move more centrally to allow Gooch to come back into the side against Blackpool in his favoured position. Semenyo would offer something different at the top end of the pitch to the strikers already mentioned and could work well with Gooch and Maguire if they are to start on Saturday.
A summer signing from relegated Walsall, Dobson has slotted right into the Sunderland midfield this season, making 26 starts in the process; a very good return for a 22-year-old at this stage of a campaign. Dobson often does a lot of the work in the midfield that could go unnoticed by supporters and the media. His work ethic is sensational and his ability to win the ball back and to find a teammate is one of the best in League One.
The former West Ham United academy graduate was dropped to the bench for the trip to Bristol Rovers as he was replaced by Josh Scowen in the starting 11. Dobson was an unused substitute on Tuesday night and with yet another poor display by those ahead of him, he will be backing himself to have worked his way back into contention for the trip to Blackpool.