Match preview: Sunderland v Gillingham

Sunderland and Gillingham will meet for the first time in the Emirates FA Cup this weekend at the Stadium of Light. 

Kicking off at the slightly earlier time of 1pm on Saturday, the Black Cats, who have won the famous cup competition twice before, take on Steve Evans’ side for a place in round two of the competition. 

Playing their third home game in seven games, Phil Parkinson will be determined to get back to winning ways after Tuesday’s defeat in the Trophy.

Sunderland ran out 1-0 winners last weekend though, defeating Sol Campbell’s Southend United at the Stadium of Light to record their second successive clean sheet in the league on home soil. 

And it's that kind of defensive resilience Parkinson has continually echoed since arriving last month, something he will no doubt be drilling home to his players once again this Saturday.

With next weekend’s trip to Bristol Rovers postponed due to international call-ups, Parkinson may well use this weekend as an opportunity to field a strong starting XI.

Lee Burge is back in training and could return to the matchday squad while Charlie Wyke and Lynden Gooch continue to nurse ankle knocks despite making progress.

Elsewhere, Denver Hume is a doubt with a virus.

Gillingham, meanwhile, make the 600-mile round trip to Wearside on Saturday with just one win in their last six games.

In fact, the Gills have claimed just two wins in their last 10 games in all competitions, leaving them 16th in the table. 

That aside, the Kent-based club enjoyed a memorable ride in the Emirates FA Cup last term, reaching the fourth round after knocking out then Premier League side Cardiff City.

Strangely, it was the Bluebirds’ South Wales neighbours, Swansea City, who ended their cup dream before they went onto the quarter-finals where the eventual winners Manchester City edged out a 3-2 tie.

However, the run for Gillingham proved memorable after seeing off Hartlepool United, with the help of a replay, Slough Town and Neil Warnock’s Cardiff. 


No park & ride - Supporters are advised that the park & ride service will not be in operation for this weekend’s fixture. 

Cash turnstiles will be in operation at the Stadium of Light on Saturday – full details. 

The Emirates FA Cup tie will not be streamed. Audio packages are available for supporters wishing to keep up to date with the action.

BBC Radio Newcastle’s Nick Barnes will be broadcasting live right here on from 12pm. 

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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