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In Profile: Sunderland

3 September 2020

Hull City head to the Stadium of Light looking to start the new season on a positive note in the Carabao Cup.

The Tigers are winless in their last five meetings with the Black Cats, last enjoying success with a 3-1 away win on Boxing Day 2014.

Ahead of matchday one in the 2020/21 campaign, we profile our first opponents of the season by taking a closer look at Sunderland’s history, management and current first team squad…

Last Season…
It proved to be another rollercoaster season for all of a red and white persuasion in 2019/20.

Despite leading Sunderland to Wembley twice in 2018/19 – the Checkatrade Trophy final & League One play-off final – Jack Ross was shown the door by the Black Cats and replaced by ex-Hull City boss Phil Parkinson in October 2019.

An indifferent start to life under Parkinson was turned around after the turn of the year, with Sunderland suffering just three defeats in 15 games prior to the suspension of the League One season due to the coronavirus. Their tally of 16 wins, 11 draws and only nine losses saw them just two places and one point outside the play-off spots when the season was curtailed with eight games still to play.

Their biggest win of the campaign was a 5-0 home victory over Tranmere Rovers in October 2019, whilst their heaviest defeats were 3-0 losses at the hands of Peterborough United and Scunthorpe United in August and November respectively.

 

The Manager…
Phil Parkinson took the reins at Sunderland in October 2019 following the departure of Jack Ross.

The 52-year-old penned a two-and-a-half year deal a the Stadium of Light, where he was joined by long-serving assistant Steve Parkin.

Born in Chorley, Parkinson enjoyed a lengthy playing career – starting out at Southampton before going on to represent Bury and Reading, earning promotion on three occasions with the Royals.

A move into management followed and Parkinson achieved immediate success, as he upset the odds by guiding Colchester United to the Championship before spells at Hull City and Charlton Athletic.

In 2011, Parkinson’s memorable tenure at Bradford City began, with the League Two Bantams sweeping aside Premier League giants en route to the 2013 League Cup final, before securing promotion later that year.

Parkinson, who has been named as the League One Manager of the Month on seven occasions, received the LMA Special Merit award for his exploits. Bradford’s run to the FA Cup quarter finals in 2015 included a famous 4-2 victory over then Premier League champions Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

He moved to Bolton Wanderers in June 2016 and after leading the Trotters to their best start to a league campaign in 82 years, his first season in charge ended in promotion to the Championship. He then kept Bolton in the Championship the following season, despite operating under a transfer embargo.

He remained in charge at the University of Bolton Stadium until August 2019 ahead of his appointment by Sunderland.

 

One To Watch…
Chris Maguire arrived at Sunderland in June 2018 and has since lit up the Stadium of Light with some stunning goals.

The Scottish forward began his career at Aberdeen before moving to Derby County in 2011. Spells at Portsmouth, Sheffield Wednesday, Coventry City, Rotherham United, Oxford United and Bury followed before he arrived on Wearside.

Maguire scored nine goals in 43 appearances in all competitions in his first season at the Stadium of Light in 2018/19 before reaching double figures last term, netting eleven times in 41 games including a hat-trick against AFC Wimbledon in a 3-1 home win in August 2019.

 

What They’re Saying…
“We all feel good and feel fit. We’re getting into the habit of winning now and it’s important to keep that going into the new season. It’s been good to see strikers hitting the back of the net and us defenders need to get into the habit of clean sheets. Whichever teams are going to be up there in the the new season will need goalscorers. It’s been good to see the strikers among the goals and long may it continue. We’ve got a deep squad with quality left right and centre and we’ve got a good starting XI whatever team the manager picks. We’ve got a good week of training coming up to make sure we’re in the best condition against Hull Next week.”

Luke O’Nien after last weekend’s pre-season victory over Harrogate Town

 

The Trophy Cabinet…
Just five clubs have won more top-flight titles than the Black Cats, who have ruled English football on six occasions.

A first Division One title success came in 1891/92, with two more following in the next three seasons (1892/93 & 1894/95). Title number four came in 1901/02 before Sunderland’s longest-serving manager Robert Kyle clinched his first trophy in 1912/13 as the north east outfit were crowned Division One champions for a fifth time.

The 1935/36 season saw Sunderland claim their sixth top-flight title – racking up their highest goal tally of 109 in the process. Buoyed on by the scoring prowess of Raich Carter and Bobby Gurney, who scored 62 goals between them, Sunderland fended off all the competition as John Cochrane led the Lads to an emphatic title win.

In 1937, the club lifted the FA Cup for the first time, beating Preston North End 3-1 courtesy of goals from Bobby Gurney, Raich Carter and Eddie Burbanks. A second FA Cup success followed in May 1973 when Ian Porterfield scored the only goal of the game when Sunderland beat Leeds United 1-0 at Wembley – a feat that won them the BBC Sports Personality Team of the Year award.

The Black Cats have also won promotion to English football’s top-flight on five separate occasions. The first of those came via the play-offs in 1989/90 before title successes in 1995/96, 1998/99, 2004/05 and 2006/07.

 

The Stadium…
The Stadium of Light’s current capacity of 48,707 makes the club’s home the ninth-biggest football ground in England.

The stadium, built on the former site of the Monkwearmouth Colliery by Ballast Wiltshire plc, opened with a showpiece game against Ajax in July 1997. It replaced the club’s former home of 99 years, Roker Park, located less than two miles away.

The stadium stands on the banks of the River Wear, a vision of the future and a landmark for Wearside. Sunderland has always been a city without a cathedral, but the stadium has created a spiritual home for local people as thousands of supporters flock to games to experience the passion and enjoy the action.

The stadium’s design drew inspiration from Sunderland’s proud industrial heritage in glass-making, shipbuilding and coal-mining.


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