The story of the day as Sunderland held by Northampton Town to tee-up Lincoln City play-off tie
Sunderland welcome Northampton Town in their final game of the regular League One season – looking to enter the play-offs with momentum behind them.
The Black Cats have already secured their spot in the top six and are guaranteed to finish in at least fifth, but could climb up to third should results go their way today.
And with a shot at promotion to the Championship ahead, boss Lee Johnson is keen to rack-up another positive result after last week’s encouraging showing at Plymouth Argyle.
Sunderland could welcome back Aiden McGeady and Charlie Wyke with Johnson set to make big calls on the duo after they missed out last weekend. The likes of Tom Flanagan, Conor McLaughlin and Jake Vokins may also play some part.
Our team of writers will be in place at the Stadium of Light to bring you all the team news, match updates, analysis and reaction from today’s game.
FT: Sunderland AFC 1-1 Northampton Town (Winchester 87; Hoskins 84)
Last updated: Sunday, 09 May, 2021, 11:05
- Sunderland welcome Northampton Town to the Stadium of Light in their final game of the regular League One season (12pm kick-off)
- The Black Cats are guaranteed a top five finish and will today discover their play-off opponents
- Lee Johnson could welcome back Aiden McGeady and Charlie Wyke
- SAFC XI: Burge; McLaughlin, Wright, O’Nien, Hume; Power, Scowen; Diamond, Jones, Gooch; Wyke
And welcome to our live blog!
Well, here we are. 46 League One games, and the regular season comes to an end today with Sunderland welcoming Northampton to Wearside.
Both sides have little to play for, with the Black Cats guaranteed a play-off place and Northampton already relegated.
But with Sunderland still able to finish as high as third, Lee Johnson will no doubt be keen to end the campaign on a high.
So, let’s dive straight into all the build-up...
Here’s how League One is shaping-up ahead of today’s fixtures...
Sunderland are guaranteed to finish within the top five, but could climb to third if results go their way today.
All eyes will be on the race for the final play-off spot as Portsmouth, Oxford and Charlton do battle for sixth.
Here’s the full list of League One fixtures:
- Blackpool v Bristol Rovers
- Charlton Athletic v Hull City
- Crewe Alexandra v Shrewsbury Town
- Doncaster Rovers v Peterborough United
- Gillingham v Plymouth Argyle
- Ipswich Town v Fleetwood Town
- Lincoln City v AFC Wimbledon
- MK Dons v Rochdale
- Oxford United v Burton Albion
- Portsmouth v Accrington Stanley
- Wigan Athletic v Swindon Town
All games will kick-off at 12pm.
Will Grigg has been discussing his future at the Stadium of Light
With his loan deal at MK Dons set to expire, Grigg was quizzed on his future by MKFM.
Here’s what he had to say:
It’s one of those things, I’ve got another year left at Sunderland and as far as I’m aware at the moment I’ll be going back there in pre-season.
Football’s a funny game, you never know what’s going to happen, there’s obviously lots of factors to go in if anything’s going to happen, but the support from the fans has been unbelievable from the first day I came back.
That was part of the reason why I wanted to come back, because of my rapport with the fans and my relationship with the club from previous times, so it’s great to be back and you never know what’s going to happen in the future.
Here’s what Sunderland’s rivals are saying ahead of a big final day in League One...
What Blackpool, Sunderland, Lincoln and their play-off rivals are saying ahead of a dramatic final day
As League One heads into its final weekend, all eyes will be on the race for the play-offs.
Northampton Town have appointed a new manager ahead of today’s game
The Cobblers have confirmed that Jon Brady, who has led the side on a caretaker basis since the dismissal of Keith Curle, has been appointed as manager on a permanent basis.
Brady has penned a two-year contract with the club - and will be looking to end the campaign on a high, despite relegation to League Two.
What are the odds for Sunderland AFC v Northampton Town?
Here are the odds currently being offered by League One title sponsors, SkyBet:
- Sunderland - 8/15
- Draw - 3/1
- Northampton - 9/2
And here’s who the bookies are backing to score first:
- Charlie Wyke - 23/10
- Ross Stewart - 4/1
- Aiden O’Brien - 9/2
- Chris Maguire - 9/2
- Jordan Jones - 9/2
- Lynden Gooch - 9/2
- Danny Rose - 9/1
- Ryan Watson - 9/1
Lee Johnson has revealed how Sunderland will approach today’s game...
The Black Cats’ boss has already hinted that he will use his full compliment of substitutes today - with one eye on the play-offs.
Here’s what he said earlier this week:
I want to win the game and I want to perform well. I might use my five subs for this one based on what we require at the moment because we need to be in a position to peak for the play-offs.
We need our best for that moment and I think this is the warm-up for that moment, if you like. I’m excited for the play-offs and I think it’s something we’ve got to enjoy and embrace.
We’d take our game to whoever we played in the final game and I expect us to have the ball a fair amount on Sunday and we have to make sure we do exceptionally well with it because that can breed confidence.
The latest team news from both Sunderland and Northampton Town
Here’s how both squads are shaping-up ahead of the clash:
Lee Johnson will have to decide whether to risk Aiden McGeady and Charlie Wyke after they missed the win at Plymouth Argyle last weekend.
The Sunderland boss hinted earlier this week that the duo could be set to feature, but a balance may have to be struck between protecting the pair and gaining a positive result today.
Elsewhere, Tom Flanagan is nearing a return while Jake Vokins could also be involved after two appearances for the club’s under-23 side. Conor McLaughlin is also expected to play some part.
The Cobblers will be without two key players today - with defensive duo Peter Kioso and Joseph Mills both ruled-out.
Jon Brady has also hinted that some young and fringe players could get a chance to impress.
We take a look at the team that could start for Sunderland today...
Will this be the side that Lee Johnson picks for the game?
How can I watch Sunderland v Northampton Town? Is there a live stream?
Yes, there will be a live stream of Sunderland v Northampton Town.
You can watch the game on safc.com, where streaming passes can be purchased for £10.
The view from Northampton Town ahead of today’s game
Here’s what manager Jon Brady said ahead of the trip to the Stadium of Light:
It’s really important for us to show as a football club what we are about and we’ve got plenty of fight in us,” he said.
Our focus right now is on Sunday but after that it’s all about the club moving forward.
It’s important we go out and perform to the best of our ability, Sunderland have had a good season and obviously we’ve been relegated but we need to go there and be competitive.
Team news is coming up shortly...
The team sheets have just been exchanged pitchside and we’ll learn soon what team Lee Johnson has named.
Remi Matthews and Anthony Patterson have just headed out to warm-up, so it looks likely that Lee Burge will be starting given the starting goalkeeper usually enters the field last.
BREAKING: THE TEAM NEWS IS IN!
And here’s how Sunderland line-up: Burge; McLaughlin, Wright, O’Nien, Hume; Power, Scowen; Diamond, Jones, Gooch; Wyke
And on the bench: Matthews, Maguire, O’Brien, Leadbitter, McFadzean, Winchester, McGeady
So that’s just one change from the side that beat Plymouth Argyle last weekend, as Charlie Wyke comes in for Ross Stewart.
Stewart misses out entirely, but hopefully that’s nothing too serious. The last thing Sunderland need is another injury concern!
Aiden McGeady is on the bench having returned to the squad.
Here’s the full teamsheet from the Stadium of Light
Northampton have injury worries too - with some key defenders missing.