Scout report: Why Sunderland must learn from their Wembley heartbreak ahead of Accrington Stanley

Accrington Stanley boss John Coleman
Accrington Stanley boss John Coleman
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Sunderland return to the WHAM Stadium for the second time this season - but what should they expect from Accrington Stanley?

John Coleman’s side have lost five of their last six League One matches but they managed to earn a point at the Stadium of Light in February.

Stanley had a 2-0 lead but were pegged back by Jack Ross’ men as the Black Cats managed to snatch a point.

We take a closer look at the Black Cats’ upcoming opponents as they look to close in on an automatic promotion place.

What system will Accrington Stanley play?

Coleman has switched between the 4-4-2 and 4-5-1 formation in recent fixtures but with the return of Paul Smyth to the starting 11 last week - it looks as though Smyth and Billy Kee will lead the line against Sunderland.

Smyth and Kee both scored in the 2-2 draw at the Stadium of Light earlier in the season.

Stanley haven't kept a clean sheet in 10 matches, which is probably the reasoning behind Coleman’s formation changes in recent weeks.

Who are Accrington Stanley’s key players?

Sean McConville will offer Stanley a threat from midfield with his 10 goals this campaign.

The captain also has six assists to his name and is seemingly the most creative player in the Accrington side.

Kee has 14 goals to his name and is the top scorer this season for Coleman’s men. The striker scored on Wearside in February so the Black Cats will have to be wary of his presence.

QPR loanee Smyth earned a Northern Ireland call up following his goal in the reverse fixture. He netted against South Korea while away on international duty.

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

James Beattie left Accrington Stanley in 2014 and that allowed Coleman to return for a second spell in charge.

Coleman managed Stanley from 1999 until 2012 and lead them into the Football League.

Stanley finished top of League Two last campaign, convincingly ahead of current League One leaders Luton Town.

Despite blowing a 2-0 lead at the Stadium of Light, Coleman’s side went on to pick up four points from six to ease their relegation fears.

Accrington were impressive on Wearside and became only one of three sides to score twice at the Stadium of Light this season.

What form have Accrington Stanley been in?

Accrington have not been in great form as of late and have lost five of their last six encounters.

Stanley had the better of the possession against Fleetwood in their last fixture but ultimately fell short and lost 1-0.

That defeat was Accrington’s third consecutive home loss and has seen them slip into 18th position.

Coleman’s side sit two points ahead of the relegation places, but they shouldn't be underestimated by the Black Cats as Ross’ men failed to beat them on Wearside.

Portsmouth failed to beat Accrington here back in October, so Stanley are certainly capable of picking up points against the promotion chasers.

Last six league matches: LLWLLL