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After suffering a miserable 6-0 defeat to Bolton last weekend, Sunderland are once again looking for a new manager and just like before, the remit will be one that is rather simple - get promotion out of League One.
Although there is no new man in charge just yet, the show must certainly go on and with Doncaster making the trip to Wearside this weekend, they will look for some respite from their own troubles at the bottom.
Although Sunderland were well off the pace at Bolton last weekend, it should be noted that they are still more than a handful for most teams in the division and although automatic promotion out of League One may evade them, the play-offs will likely not.
Which means Sunderland will look to solidify their current standing of third in the League One table and the best way to do that this weekend, is by picking up maximum points against Doncaster.
Which means although backing the Black Cats to simply win does not constitute much in the way of the value, backing a Sunderland half time and full time victory at odds of evens with Sportnation certainly does
In each season that Sunderland have plied their trade in League One, they have always been named as pre-season favourites to win the division and each season, they have failed to meet that promise.
Something that could well be the case this time, as the Wearside outfit find themselves currently lying third in the table and although they are only two points behind Wigan at the time of writing, the Latics find themselves with three games in hand.
While that coupled with the 6-0 mauling they received at the hands of Bolton last weekend, was enough for Lee Johnson to be shown the Stadium of Light exit door and now the search for another manager begins in earnest.
A search that has not yet been completed and with both Scotland’s Alex Neil and Nothern Ireland’s Grant McCann heading what is now becoming a rather lengthy list of candidates, the board will have to decide between the former Preston or the former Hull boss.
If they go with Neil, they will plump for a man who also has experience of managing in the Premier League with Norwich and for that reason alone, it may well be he that ends up getting the nod over McCann.
In terms of injuries and suspensions for the visit of Doncaster, Nathan Broadhead is ruled out until April with a hamstring injury and the 27-year-old pair of Luke O’Nein and Jordan Willis will also be unavailable.
If things were already looking bad for Doncaster, then they would have only got worse on Tuesday night and after losing 5-0 to Rotherham in the Yorkshire derby, their plight at the bottom of the table has only worsened.
A plight that currently sees them 11 points from safety and with only three points collected from the last 18 on offer, relegation looks a near certainty for Gary McSheffrey and his players.
In fairness to manager McSheffrey he has taken control of what was already a sinking ship and after taking the reins from Richie Wellens in December, he has been unable to revive their ailing fortunes.
With five losses from their last six outings, the only chink of light was their 1-0 away win at Mk Dons a fortnight ago and although that victory would have been welcomed, it has done little for Donny in the grand scheme of things.
Which means there is almost an air of inevitability about Doncaster’s season and although Sunderland may be down on their luck, they will be grateful of not being in their opponent’s position either.
In terms of injuries and suspensions for the trip to Sunderland, Doncaster have a clean bill of health and although four of their squad are currently walking on a disciplinary tightrope, there are no immediate concerns for manager Gary McSheffrey.
There is not a great deal of history to look back on, as there have only been 10 meetings between the two clubs and of those, Sunderland have been largely the dominant force throughout.
In terms of their overall head-to-head record, Sunderland have won on 7 occasions, Doncaster 1 and there have been 2 draws
Although it may be called the Stadium of Light, Sunderland’s ground has arguably seen brighter days and although the club are still consigned to the third tier of English football, their fans are just as passionate as any other.
With COVID-19 restrictions being lifted in England, it means there is no longer the need to show a Vaccine Passport before attending the ground. Which means, match tickets are the only item that is required to be produced at the time of writing.
Regardless of who the new manager is or is not, the visit of Doncaster should not trouble Sunderland this weekend and although the Black Cats’ form has been indifferent as of late, it is far better than that of the visitors.
Which means Doncaster are likely to struggle on Saturday and if they are consigned to another defeat as expected, then the trapdoor to League Two, is one that will soon be ready to open beneath them.