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Oct 16, 2021 at 3pm UK
Lloyd (25' pen.)
Kelman (90+3')
FT(HT: 1-1)
O'Brien (45+3'), Flanagan (54')
Cirkin (43'), Stewart (84')
Embleton (67')

Preview: Gillingham vs. Sunderland - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Gillingham vs. Sunderland - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Saturday's League One clash between Gillingham and Sunderland, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

Gillingham welcome Sunderland to Priestfield on Saturday in an important clash at both ends of the League One table.

The hosts have lost their last two outings and sit just two points above the relegation zone, while their visitors will look to bounce back from a defeat of their own to climb back into the top two.

Match preview

After a strong end to last season, resulting in a 10th-placed finish in League One, Gillingham will have headed into the new campaign with optimism, but they have not enjoyed a strong start.

Steve Evans's men have won just two of their opening 12 league outings, sitting in 19th spot with a disappointing tally of 11 points as a result.

After seemingly improving with a run of three league games without a defeat, the Gills now come into Saturday's game on the back of three straight losses in all competitions, as they lost 2-0 to Wigan Athletic and Ipswich Town in League One and the EFL Cup respectively.

Their slump continued on Saturday, as they went down with a whimper against title-chasing Wycombe Wanderers, with early goals from Garath McCleary and Brandon Hanlan seeing the Chairboys cruise to a 2-0 victory.

Now in need of an upturn in form to get away from the drop zone, Evans will hope for a reaction from his side on Saturday, but they face a particularly difficult task as Sunderland arrive looking to return to winning ways.

Under the tutelage of Lee Johnson, Sunderland kicked off another promotion bid in style this campaign as they sat at the summit of the division with 19 points from their opening eight outings.

The Black Cats continued their impressive form with a dominant performance against Cheltenham Town at the end of September, as Bailey Wright, Luke O'Nien and Leon Dajaku got on the scoresheet alongside a Ross Stewart brace in a resounding 5-0 win at the Stadium of Light.

However, their last league outing resulted in a disappointing defeat to Portsmouth, as their trip to the south coast ended in a 4-0 loss with John Marquis hitting a double alongside early goals from Marcus Harness and Lee Brown.

Johnson's men have since posted victories over Lincoln City and Manchester United Under-21s in the EFL Cup, albeit with makeshift squads, and they will now look to bounce back into the top two quickly in England's third tier.

Gillingham League One form:
  • L
  • D
  • D
  • W
  • L
  • L

Gillingham form (all competitions):
  • D
  • D
  • W
  • L
  • L
  • L

Sunderland League One form:
  • W
  • W
  • D
  • W
  • W
  • L

Sunderland form (all competitions):
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • W

Team News

John Akinde and Vadaine Oliver should continue to lead the line for Gillingham, with the support of Danny Lloyd, who netted an important goal in their Cambridge United.

Despite the disappointing manner of their defeat to Wycombe, Evans is unlikely to make too many changes, with Daniel Adshead, Alex MacDonald and Kyle Dempsey expected to remain in the engine room in front of the defensive pairing of Max Ehmer and Jack Tucker.

Sunderland will be boosted by the return of their international players, with Tom Flanagan, Callum Doyle and Dennis Cirkin all available for selection.

They are not without several concerns though, with Corry Evans and Nathan Broadhead set to miss out, while Lynden Gooch and Aiden McGeady are both doubts and may not be back in time for Saturday's game.

Defender Niall Huggins has also been ruled out, although Luke O'Nien is set to start after an injury concern.

Ross Stewart will continue to lead the line, having started the season in style with seven goals in the opening 10 league games.

Gillingham possible starting lineup:
Cumming; McKenzie, Ehmer, Tucker, Tutonda; Dempsey, Adshead, MacDonald; Lloyd; Oliver, Akinde

Sunderland possible starting lineup:
Hoffmann; Winchester, Flanagan, Wright, Cirkin; O'Nien, Embleton; O'Brien, Pritchard, Dajaku; Stewart

We say: Gillingham 1-2 Sunderland

While they have been hit by several injuries to crucial players, we expect Sunderland to get back to winning ways against an out-of-sorts Gillingham side on Saturday.

The Black Cats still boast more than enough quality to see off Evans's men, and with Stewart on song, they should outclass their hosts at the top end of the pitch.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting over 1.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Over 1.5:data

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