Scout Report: Can Oxford and their determined ex-Liverpool striker put a dent in Sunderland’s promotion plans?

Sunderland travel to the Kassam Stadium this weekend to face Oxford United - but what are we expecting from Karl Robinson's side?

Friday, 8th February 2019, 9:11 am
Updated Friday, 8th February 2019, 11:34 pm
Karl Robinson is preparing his Oxford side to take on Sunderland

The Black Cats will face at least one familiar face this weekend - with former Watford loanee Jerome Sinclair now playing for Oxford.

The former Liverpool forward made his full debut in their last match, a 0-0 draw against Burton Albion and will be determined to impress.

But what else should Sunderland expect?

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What system will Oxford United play?

Oxford usually play in a 4-2-3-1 formation. This allows top goalscorer James Henry to play behind the striker, who is likely going to be Sinclair.

Henry has scored 10 goals this season as well as getting 5 assists from attacking midfield and is by far the hosts top goalscorer.

Who are Oxford’s key players?

The previously mentioned Henry is by far the biggest threat the home side will have to offer.

Involved in 15 of Oxford’s 37 league goals this season, the 29-year-old has been around the Championship and League One his whole career - playing a big part at Millwall and Wolves for many years.

Centre back Curtis Nelson was linked with a move to Wearside in January but clubs were told they’d have to pay a ‘substantial’ amount to sign him from Oxford.

Nelson, 25, has impressed for The Yellows this term despite the low position the club find themselves in.

Do Oxford have any injury worries?

There are no fresh injury concerns for the home side going into Saturday’s game.

Jonathan Obika and Shandon Baptiste botare both recovering from long term injuries and definitely won’t play any part in this game.

Who is Oxford’s manager and what can we expect from them?

Karl Robinson has been in charge of Oxford since March 2018. The 38-year-old finished the season 16th after being at the helm for a few months.

Robinson has been in management since 2010 starting out at MK Dons, a club he was manager for until 2016.

Tactically, Robinson usually sets up his teams in a 4-2-3-1 as expected this weekend.

What form have Oxford been in?

The U’s are in decent form despite their low league position - and especially at home, in the club’s last two home games they’ve beaten Portsmouth 2-1 and drew with Barnsley 2-2.

The Black Cats are looking for their first win over Oxford since beating them 7-0 in 1998.

In their last game, Oxford drew 0-0 against 13th placed Burton Albion, one of the only two sides to beat Sunderland in the league this season.

At the Stadium of Light this season Oxford held Sunderland to a 1-1 draw in the reverse fixture last September. Charlie Wyke scored his only League One goal for the club so far in this game.

League form: LLLDDW