The story of the day as Charlie Wyke and Max Power lose out on Sunderland return after Aiden McGeady and Ross Stewart goals
The Black Cats take on the Latics on the opening day of the League One season at the Stadium of Light this afternoon.
And Sunderland are set to welcome back three familiar faces to Wearside as Wigan Athletic travel north.
Former Cats striker Charlie Wyke – who netted 31 goals in all competitions last season – is set for a reunion with Lee Johnson, alongside ex-captain Max Power and former loanee Jordan Jones.
Sunderland, however, look set to be boosted by the return of Aiden McGeady after he missed pre-season games against Harrogate Town and Hull City.
The Black Cats will also welcome fans back to the Stadium of Light without capacity restrictions for the first time since March 2020.
Here, though, Echo writers Phil Smith, Joe Nicholson and James Copley will be bringing you live coverage throughout the day plus minute-by-minute updates of the action as Sunderland look to start the League One season with a win.
Sunderland 2-1 Wigan Athletic
Last updated: Saturday, 07 August, 2021, 15:22
- Sunderland face Wigan Athletic at the Stadium of Light this afternoon (3pm kick-off)
- SAFC XI: Burge, Winchester, Neil, Doyle, Flanagan, Evans, Embleton, O’Nien, Gooch, McGeady, Stewart
- WAFC XI: Amos, Pearce, Naylor, Whatmough, Edwards, Power, Lang, Long, Darikwa, Keane, Wyke
Some information ahead of the Wigan Athletic clash
What TV channel is Sunderland vs Wigan Athletic on?
The clash between Sunderland and Wigan won’t be shown on any television channels.
Can I stream Sunderland vs Wigan Athletic online?
The EFL have confirmed that they will return to their pre-COVID-19 position on streaming games this season.
That means Sunderland fans in the UK will not be able to stream games that take place between 2:45 and 5:15 on a Saturday afternoon.
Only fans overseas will be able to stream those games, provided that they have not been selected for international television broadcast in a territory that has an overseas broadcast partner.
However, the EFL have also confirmed that clubs will be able to offer a streaming service to UK supporters for any games that take place outside of that Saturday window.
That means that all midweek games not selected for TV can be streamed, as well as matches moved from their Saturday slot for non-TV purposes.
Games that take place on a bank holiday can be streamed, and all Papa John’s Trophy games up until the semi-final can be streamed.
Are there any other ways I can follow Sunderland vs Wigan Athletic?
BBC Radio Newcastle will provide full match commentary.
Nick Barnes and Gary Bennett will be available on the following frequencies: 95.4FM, 96FM, 103.7FM, 104.4FM and 1458AM.
The Sunderland Echo will also have full coverage on our website with Phil Smith, James Copley and Joe Nicholson at the Stadium of Light
Are there any tickets available for Sunderland vs Wigan Athletic?
Supporters should be aware that the Stadium of Light Box Office remains closed due to Covid-19 and all tickets are now digital.
Will there be any away fans at the Stadium of Light for Sunderland vs Wigan Athletic?
Yes, there are currently no restrictions on the capacities of stadiums in the UK at the moment.
Wigan Athletic have announced that 2,000 Latics will make the trip to Sunderland on Saturday.
Information for fans about return to Stadium of Light
A club statement read: “On Thursday and Friday, the ticket office will reopen for ticket sales and enquiries from 10am to 5pm. Cash sales will not be available and all purchases must be completed using a debit or credit card, but our ticketing team will be on hand to support you every step of the way.
“The Ticket Office will remain open on Saturday from 9am ‘til 3pm, but please be advised that this will be for enquiries only.
“Tickets will not be on sale on matchday via the Ticket Office and cash turnstiles will also not be in operation, however, supporters wishing to purchase a match ticket on Saturday will be able to do so via our e-ticketing platform.
“If you are dropping by the ticket office in-person this week, we ask you to please maintain social distancing and wear a face covering upon entering the building.
“We would also like to advise you that due to ongoing developments inside the Stadium of Light, the Premier Concourse will be closed on Saturday, meaning the stadium’s home capacity will be capped at 37,500, including hospitality.
“The Stadium of Light store will also remain closed this weekend due to ongoing operational upgrades at our warehouse, but we hope to reopen it by the start of September.”
Season card delivery update
A club statement read: “All new season cards have now been dispatched and should arrive at your door before or on Saturday 07 August.
“If you have not received a season card prior to travelling to the Stadium of Light, please visit the Ticket Office upon arrival and a member of our team will issue you with a match ticket.
“We apologise for the inconvenience this will cause you and understand that this is not ideal, but we would encourage you to arrive as early as possible to avoid any delays entering the stadium.
“Only new season card holders for the 2021-22 season, seat movers and supporters that have changed ticketing category have been issued with a new season card.
“All other season card holders will be able to access the stadium using their existing card, including 2019-20 season card holders that did not renew for the 2020-21 season, but have for the upcoming campaign.”
Accessing the stadium
The club statement added: “Our matchday park and ride service, on the Sunderland Enterprise Park just off the A1231, will be running as normal on Saturday.
“Once you arrive at the Stadium of Light, our meet and greet team will be in place if you require any assistance when accessing the stadium.
“Please remember to have your tickets ready when arriving at the turnstiles to minimise queues and wait times for both yourself and your fellow supporters.
“When using a digital ticket to access the stadium, please note that all QR codes must be scanned directly from a mobile device.
“QR codes displayed on a tablet or smart watch, including iPads and Apple Watches, or from a screenshot or photo, will not be recognised at the turnstile.
“IOS users can add the ticket to their Apple Wallet, whilst Android users will receive a PDF in their confirmation email.
“Digital tickets can also be printed at home but where possible, try not to crease the QR code as this could lead to delays when scanning it at the turnstile.
“If you are purchasing tickets as part of a group or on behalf of other supporters, please also ensure each individual supporter has direct access to their digital ticket prior to arriving at the stadium.”
Turnstiles and face coverings
The club has confirmed turnstiles will be open from 1.30pm on Saturday and fans have been warned not to attend if they or any member of their household has developed Covid-19 symptoms.
A statement added: “Supporters are advised to wear a face covering when entering and exiting the stadium, but as per national guidelines, this is not a mandatory requirement.
“Social distancing is also encouraged where possible, as is regularly using the sanitisation stations in place throughout the Stadium of Light.
“Please also be reminded that you do not need to provide evidence of a negative test or vaccination to access the stadium.”
Meanwhile, following the introduction of a state-of-the-art EPOS system, cash will no longer be accepted within the Stadium of Light and all purchases made will be contactless.
Free Wi-Fi is also now available within the main bowl.
Sunderland announce squad numbers
Sunderland have announced their squad numbers for the 2021/22 season – with new signings expected to fill some of the vacant slots.
The Black Cats have made three new signings so far this summer, with Alex Pritchard, Callum Doyle and Corry Evans joining the club.
Pritchard will take the number 21 shirt following his arrival from Huddersfield, while Manchester City loanee Doyle will wear number six.
Evans has been named Sunderland’s captain for the 2021/22 campaign and has been handed the number four jersey.
Elliott Embleton, who was on loan at Blackpool last season, has taken the number eight shirt, while Bailey Wright has switched from number five to 26, the number he originally wore during his loan spell at the Stadium of Light.
The Black Cats remain hopeful they can make more signings before the end of the transfer window, which will close at the end of August.
That is reflected in the squad numbers announcement, with numbers: two, five, seven, nine and 12 all vacant.
The biggest priority for Johnson is to sign some senior full-backs for the new season
Here are Sunderland squad numbers in full:
1 Lee Burge
3 Tom Flanagan
4 Corry Evans
6 Callum Doyle
8 Elliot Embleton
10 Aiden O’Brien
11 Lynden Gooch
13 Luke O’Nien
14 Ross Stewart
15 Carl Winchester
18 Ellis Taylor
19 Arbenit Xhemajli
20 Anthony Patterson
21 Alex Pritchard
22 Will Grigg
23 Jack Diamond
24 Dan Neil
25 Ollie Younger
26 Bailey Wright
27 Josh Hawkes
28 Aiden McGeady
Lee Johnson delivers Alex Pritchard fitness update
He could be involved against Wigan. It’ll depend on the stage of the game, the moment, the scoreline, all of those things.
With Alex, I always say that the smaller players get up to speed and fitter quicker. It can take some of the bigger lads more time but with someone like Alex you can accelerate things into two or three weeks.
The season opener is upon us!
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Today’s Stadium of Light playlist
Lee Johnson has named his starting XI to face Wigan Athletic
Reaction to Sunderland’s starting XI....
It’s as expected for Sunderland really with Tom Flanagan pipping Bailey Wright to start in defence alongside Callum Doyle.
Lee Burge replaces Anthony Patterson after the young stopper started against Hull City.
Dan Neil and Carl Winchester start the game at left-back and right-back with Sunderland short in the full-back positions.
Luke ONien plays in the middle alongside captain Corry Evans and Elliot Embleton.
Aiden McGeady returns after missing out against Harrogate Town and Hull City following treatment on his knee.
Lynden Gooch starts on the right with Ross Stewart leading the line.
On the bench, new signing Alex Pritchard is included having battled back from Covid-19.