Sunderland travel to Bristol Rovers this weekend on the back of an important win over Gillingham on Tuesday night.
The Gasheads themselves are in decent form, though, and so this should be a closely-fought match between two sides that have plenty to play for right now.
We caught up Gary McLaughlin of We Are Wearside once again, then, to preview the game…
1. A big goal for Will Grigg in the week, how confident will he now be?
I’m not sure he lacked confidence, well, at least he hasn’t looked like he lacked confidence. Hopefully it helps him kick on, but I think his general play has been well received by Sunderland fans and he isn’t under massive pressure. I think the discontent that was growing was around the lack of wins, we’ve been in a promotion race all season and that felt like it was slipping away – until now.
2. A big win against Gillingham, too, after the threat of another draw – what can the Black Cats take from that one for these final couple of months?
I think the biggest thing to come from the game was the system. We don’t suit 4-4-2 but even at 4-5-1 we have to play the right players to fit the system. Having Grant Leadbitter and Lee Cattermole anchor the play worked well, letting George Honeyman push forward. The problem is that our centre backs aren’t very good and are generally left exposed. It was really disappointing to see Chris Maguire go off, he’s out for 6-8 weeks now and he looked like he was about to run into some good form.
3. Duncan Watmore has been rested the last couple of games with a slight niggle but looks set to be back in the squad at the weekend – does he start?
Probably, I think we’ll be over cautious with Watmore for the rest of the season simply because of how little football he has played over the last two seasons. He is a talent, no doubt, particularly at this level where full backs struggle to cope with his direct style.
4. Luke O’Nien drew more plaudits on Tuesday night – will he continue at right-back or can he be found a space further forwards?
I will keep banging the drum that he is a central midfielder. He’s been our stand out performer, completely out of position and has put all of his effort into the task. He is a central midfielder though, and an attacking one at that, so it would be great to see him given a chance in his favoured position. We’ve struggled to create through the middle in a few games this season, too. Honestly though I think he’ll play right back for the forseeable and that makes sense too given how well he is doing there.
5. Score prediction
Luton aren’t slowing down, Barnsley are within striking distance but are still a quality side. We simply have to keep up the pace otherwise it’s the play-offs. I think we will win again but there are few clean sheets where Sunderland are involved so I’ll say 3-1.