Sunderland’s two games at the Stadium of Light in this campaign so far, have brought two wins and as Oxford are currently near the bottom, Sunderland will be huge favourites to make it three straight home wins.
Anything less must be considered points dropped.
It has been great to see Sunderland winning in front of their own fans again and the victories over Charlton and Scunthorpe couldn’t have been more different.
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The Charlton game was nerve-racking but thrilling, with a last-gasp Lynden Gooch goal securing the three points, whereas the Scunthorpe win was emphatic with the points in the bag really by half-time.
So as long as Sunderland find a way to win the game on Saturday I will be happy, even an ugly 1-0 win, as winning means everything for Sunderland now as they can’t afford to have any more than a solitary season in the backwaters of League One.
If they can dazzle us all with exciting football too then all the better, we will get the best of everything then, but I am enjoying this feeling of winning our home games and want it to continue after so many miserable losing home games over the last couple of years.
Oxford were the team I made my debut against as an 18-year-old, way back in the 70s, it was just a 20-minute cameo, but it meant the world to me as it meant I played in a first team red and white shirt at Roker Park and no one could ever take that away.
I remember being sent out to warm up and ran towards the Fulwell End, where I had stood watching Sunderland so many times before, then sent on the pitch for my big moment.
My only thoughts were ‘don’t let anybody down’ and as we won 1-0 with a late goal, I think I managed that.
I’d love to say I scored our goal or even made it but I didn’t - it wasn’t a debut that grabbed any headlines, but I had achieved an ambition and shared the pitch with some of the 1973 heroes who were still at the club at the time.
So whenever we play Oxford, it brings back a great memory for me, but that was a long time ago and now it is all about the current players continuing their good run and now they have moved into the top two, they have got to stay there.