Checkatrade Trophy preview: Bristol Rovers v Sunderland

Just 90 minutes separate Sunderland and Bristol Rovers from a place in a Wembley final later this month.

Portsmouth await the victors from tonight’s Checkatrade Trophy semi-final which is set to take place at the Memorial Stadium, kick-off 7:45pm.

Having successfully done the double over Bristol Rovers already this season, Jack Ross’ side return to the Memorial Stadium just 10 days after dispatching them 2-0 in the league.

That day, Luke O’Nien scored from close range before an Aiden McGeady free-kick in the second 45 secured the points.

Since then, the Black Cats have gone on to secure three-straight league wins to keep their promotion hopes alive while The Gas responded from their defeat to the Black Cats with a thumping 4-0 win over Blackpool on Saturday. 

Sunderland have enjoyed a relatively straightforward route to the last four, seeing of Manchester City under-21s and Newcastle United under-21s in their previous two rounds.

Those wins came after the Lads defeated Notts County in the round of 32 and finished top of group A, following wins over Sky Bet League Two side Morecambe and Carlisle United. 

Meanwhile, Rovers have got past West Ham United under-21s, Yeovil Town and Exeter City in the group stage. They then defeated Swansea under-21s 2-1 away before knocking out Northampton Town 2-1 and Port Vale 3-0.

As for their league form, The Gas occupy the final relegation spot despite suffering just two defeats in their previous 11 domestic matches.

Without giving too much away, Jack Ross has admitted he will name ‘the strongest side’ he can while Rovers are hopeful that striker Jonson Clarke-Harris will be fit after receiving a knock to the ankle at the weekend.  


Supporters are reminded that tickets are no longer on sale for tonight’s Checkatrade Trophy tie at Bristol Rovers. 

The Lads will be backed by over 1,800 supporters at the Memorial Stadium, with a trip to Wembley Stadium at stake. 

Tickets are no longer available online or by phone, and cash turnstiles will NOT be in operation. 

BBC Radio Newcastle’s Nick Barnes will be broadcasting live right here on from 7:30pm.  

As ever, there will be comprehensive coverage across our digital channels including’s matchday blog and live updates on Twitter via @SunderlandAFC.

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