Match preview: Sunderland v Walsall

Just 10 games, 30 points and 50 days separate Sunderland from the end of the regular season.

Now is the time to dig deep and squeeze every ounce of what’s left in the tank to ensure that come Saturday 4 May at 5pm, this club is where it wants to be.

In the here and now, though, Walsall are next on the agenda at the Stadium of Light as Sunderland’s unbeaten home league record gets put on the line once again. 

Unbeaten in their last 18 games in all competitions, the Black Cats welcome the Saddlers having drawn their last two matches. 

A score draw last Saturday at Wycombe Wanderers was followed by a goalless stalemate at promotion rivals Barnsley in midweek, with Jack Ross’ side now back on home turf to ramp up the pressure on the top two as we head into the home straight.

With Luton Town nine clear and Barnsley four ahead, Sunderland have work to do if they are to get into the two automatic places, although they do have a game in hand on both sides.

Ross will be boosted by the return of defensive duo Tom Flanagan and Reece James after they missed the midweek trip to Oakwell.

Flanagan has recovered from concussion while full-back James is back in contention after shaking off a niggle.

Saturday’s opponents, Walsall, head to Wearside having recorded just three wins in their previous 17 matches. Spiralling down the table, the Saddlers sit 19th and just four points above the red zone, with nine games left. 

Dean Keates can take heart from his side’s upturn in form in recent weeks, though, having taking seven points from a possible 12 – losing their last fixture at home to promotion-chasing Portsmouth.

The West Midland club will also by buoyed by the return of Bishop Auckland born Andy Cook following his three-match suspension.

Cook bagged himself a goal in our 1-1 FA Cup draw with Walsall in December and proved to be a very difficult player to play against due to his strength and aerial abilities.

He is the Saddlers’ top scorer this season with 11 goals and he has vowed to score the goals that will keep Walsall afloat this season.


Cash turnstiles will be in operation for this weekend's home match – full details available here.  

Streaming passes are also on sale now. 

BBC Radio Newcastle’s Nick Barnes will be broadcasting live right here on from 2pm. 

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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