safc.com caught up with Tom Sleeman from Argyle Life earlier this week to preview Sunderland’s game against Plymouth Argyle this weekend.
Thanks for joining us Tom, what has this season been like for Plymouth fans?
TS: Starting the season very poorly, much like last season, has been a big source of frustration for fans. Since the New Year we have been in fantastic form, losing just once in nine games.
If it hadn't taken us 12 games to record our first win it is likely that we would be putting pressure on the sides occupying the play-off positions. In our current form, we feel as though we'll be safe from relegation.
Last weekend the team defeated Rochdale 5-1, just how much confidence are Argyle playing with at the moment?
TS: There's a lot of confidence and positivity around the club at the moment which wasn't there earlier in the season. Both Graham Carey and Ruben Lameiras are in good form either side of Freddie Ladapo who scored his fifth brace of the season against Rochdale.
The Green Army always travel in big numbers as well, selling over 1,500 tickets already for the fixture which will help the players further.
Which players should Sunderland fans be worried about this weekend?
TS: Carey and Lameiras will be the duo that cause Sunderland the most problems. Without exaggerating, they can be two of League One's best players on their day.
Carey hasn't scored as many as he would've liked this season but still has eight assists to his name as well as scoring a stunning free-kick against Portsmouth a few weeks ago.
Lameiras only got a run of games in the side shortly before Christmas but already has 10 goals, also recording a hat-trick of assists against Rochdale at the weekend. They have a combined 26 goals and assists between them this season in the league.
Aiden McGeady scored twice in the reverse fixture, is he your main worry or do you see someone else as a threat?
TS: With the quality in the Sunderland squad there will be a few players to look out for. McGeady will certainly be the one to watch, having scored in each of his last three games. Despite not hitting the ground running, everyone knows how prolific Will Grigg can be in this division and Lynden Gooch is another if he can recapture some of his early season form.
Are Plymouth likely to sit in and defend this weekend like most teams who come to the Stadium of Light or can you see Derek Adams setting his team up to have a go?
TS: Derek Adams tends to prefer a 4-3-3 formation and I can't see that changing for this fixture. Argyle will most likely look to hit Sunderland on the counter with Carey and Lameiras playing a big part in that. Midfielder Antoni Sarcevic will be a big loss through suspension after picking up his tenth yellow card of the season.
However, it will provide an exciting opportunity for Oscar Threlkeld who is more defensive minded but hasn't featured much since rejoining the club on loan in January.
Finally, what is your prediction for the game at the Stadium of Light?
TS: With both sides in good form it should be an exciting encounter. Argyle will have felt that the 2-0 defeat earlier in the season slightly flattered Sunderland a little bit given that neither side created much throughout the game.Sunderland have drawn four of their last six home games in the league and with the Argyle defence being much more reliable and stable since the turn of the year I could see another draw in the offing. However, with the quality in the Black Cat's side and the need to maintain pressure on Luton Town and Barnsley for the automatic promotion places, I'll go with a 2-1 home win.