'He’s been a long-term target': The Swansea loanee Sunderland will have to be wary of against Lincoln plus verdict on former Cats man Chris Maguire

Sunderland are preparing to face Lincoln City in League One on Tuesday night – but what can Lee Johnson’s side expect at the Stadium of Light?

Monday, 10th January 2022, 4:45 pm

The Imps beat Sunderland in the play-offs last season but have struggled to get going this campaign.

Michael Appleton’s side did record a big 2-0 win over Oxford on Saturday, though, a result which moved them up to 19th in the table, two points clear of the relegation zone.

Before that win at the LNER Stadium, Lincoln had gone seven league matches without a win, while also suffering some disappointing cup defeats.

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Morgan Whittaker has joined Lincoln on loan from Swansea City.

To find out more, we caught up with Lincoln reporter Mark Whiley from Lincolnshire Live to get the inside track on Sunderland’s next opponents:

How has Lincoln’s season gone so far and what has changed since the last campaign?

MW: “It’s been tough to say the least! They had some fantastic loanees last season and they haven’t been replaced, although that was always going to be a tall order.

“Several of the new signings haven’t worked out and one – Dan Nlundulu from Southampton – has already been sent back this month.

“They’ve also suffered terribly with injuries to key players like defenders Joe Walsh and Adam Jackson, midfield lynchpin and captain Liam Bridcutt and target man Tom Hopper.

“There have been some really poor performances, particularly in the run up to Christmas, but they were superb against Oxford on Saturday which offered hope.”

What system are Lincoln likely to play against Sunderland?

MW: “It’ll be 4-3-3, or a subtle variation of, and they like to play out from the back. The wide men, Anthony Scully and new loan signing Morgan Whittaker, will see plenty of the ball.

Who are their key players?

MW: “He’s only played one game but I would have to say Whittaker who was outstanding against Oxford, scoring the second goal. He’s been a long-term target after they missed out on him at the end of the last window.

“There’s leading scorer Anthony Scully too while Chris Maguire has become increasingly influential over the last couple of months.”

Chris Maguire left Sunderland to join Lincoln in the summer, how has he fared?

MW: “He had an injury disrupted start but has been one of the few consistent performers over the last few months. The fans have really warmed to him.

“He’s played all across the front three and was the central striker on Saturday.”

What’s the latest team and injury news?

MW: “How long have you got!?

“Lewis Montsma joined the list after picking up a knee injury on Saturday. That’s three central defenders out now.

“Bridcutt suffered a setback in training on Friday and could be out for a while.

“Walsh and Hopper are long-term absentees while Jackson is a couple of weeks away from returning due to concussion.”

Finally, can you have a go at a predicted line-up?

MW: “Griffiths: Bishop or Robson, Eyoma, Poole, Bramall; McGrandles, Sorensen, Fiorini; Whittaker, Maguire, Scully

“Teddy Bishop’s a midfielder and Jamie Robson is a left-back.”

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