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Feb 5, 2022 at 3pm UK
DoncasterDoncaster Rovers
Evans (89')
Evans (29')
FT(HT: 0-2)
Griffiths (22'), Rowe (45+2')

Preview: Sunderland vs. Doncaster Rovers - prediction, team news, lineups

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

Following the departure of manager Lee Johnson, Sunderland will look to bounce back from a 6-0 thrashing when they return to action with a home clash against Doncaster Rovers on Saturday.

The two sides sit at opposite ends of the League One table, with the hosts sat third and their visitors rooted to the foot of the division.

Match preview

Under the control of Lee Johnson, Sunderland set their sights on earning promotion to the Championship this season, and they got off to a strong start, establishing themselves in the hunt for the top two spots by earning 49 points from the opening 24 league matches.

However, the Black Cats have seen their form take a dip since the turn of the year, winning just one of their first four games of 2022 - a 1-0 victory over Portsmouth before they suffered a thrashing last time out.

Bolton Wanderers arrived at the Stadium of Light looking to extend their resurgence with a surprise victory, and they dished out a 6-0 thrashing with Oladapo Afolayan, Kieran Lee and Declan John helping themselves to goals alongside a Dion Charles brace and an own goal from Danny Batth.

That triggered the end of Johnson's tenure, with the club now searching for his replacement in the North East while looking to correct their form with a victory on Saturday in the meantime.

With Sunderland remaining third in England's third tier, two points behind Wigan Athletic, they could climb back into the automatic promotion spots with a victory over the league's basement side.

Doncaster Rovers arrive on the back of two straight losses, taking their tally to 20 defeats from their 29 League One outings so far this season.

After breaking a five-game losing run with a surprise 1-0 away victory over promotion-chasing MK Dons, thanks to Joe Dodoo's goal, Gary McSheffrey's side fell to a 3-1 home defeat at the hands of Plymouth Argyle last Saturday.

Rovers then met league leaders Rotherham United in a Yorkshire derby at the Keepmoat Stadium on Tuesday, and they were handed a 5-0 thrashing with Mickel Miller, Ben Wiles, Chiedozie Ogbene, Daniel Barlaser and Jamie Lindsay all helping themselves to goals in a rampant away performance.

That has left McSheffrey's men in an unenviable position at the bottom of the table, three points behind 23rd-placed Gillingham and 11 points adrift of safety.

With 17 league games left to play, Rovers are not yet totally condemned to the drop, but they require a drastic turn in form, and the schedule does not get any easier with a trip to the third-placed Black Cats on Saturday.

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

Doncaster Rovers League One form:
  • L
  • L
  • L
  • W
  • L
  • L

Team News

After last weekend's thrashing, Sunderland may look to make several changes for Saturday's game, with potential alterations brought about by activity on transfer deadline day.

Centre-back Tom Flanagan has left the club, while Jay Matete has arrived alongside returning forward Jermain Defoe, who hit 34 Premier League goals for the club between 2014 and 2017.

It remains to be seen whether the 37-year-old will be fit to come straight into the side, and Ross Stewart will continue to play a key role in the attack nonetheless, having hit 18 League One goals for the Black Cats so far this term.

Doncaster have also made several additions in January, with experienced midfielder Adam Clayton a particularly notable arrival alongside attackers Kieran Agard, Reo Griffiths and Josh Martin.

Clayton, who spent 10 consecutive seasons in the Championship before his switch to Yorkshire, will lead a midfield trio, with Arsenal loanee Matt Smith and veteran Tommy Rowe again expected to feature, while competition for spots in the attacking line is more fierce thanks to McSheffrey's reinforcements.

Sunderland possible starting lineup:
Hoffmann; Winchester, Batth, Doyle, Roberts; Pritchard, Evans; Dajaku, Embleton, Clarke; Stewart

Doncaster Rovers possible starting lineup:
Mitchell; Knoyle, Olowu, Williams, Horton; Smith, Clayton, Rowe; Martin, Dodoo, Agard

We say: Sunderland 3-1 Doncaster Rovers

Sunderland will hope that the removal of Johnson will bring about a fresh start after their thrashing last weekend, and we expect them to bounce back with a victory on Saturday.

Both sides will look to rebound from damning defeats, but the Black Cats boast the stronger squad, and, with home advantage, they should cruise past the basement side.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting a home win 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.Home Win:data

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1Rotherham UnitedRotherham30205555183765
2Wigan AthleticWigan27175548262256
3MK Dons31168751341756
5Oxford UnitedOxford Utd31158854381653
6Wycombe WanderersWycombe30158746341253
7Sheffield WednesdaySheff Weds301410642321052
8Plymouth ArgylePlymouth29148751361550
9Ipswich TownIpswich311381049381147
10Bolton WanderersBolton30126124439542
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13Charlton AthleticCharlton30116134037339
14Burton Albion30116133638-239
15Cambridge UnitedCambridge30910113843-537
16Cheltenham TownCheltenham30812103649-1336
17Lincoln CityLincoln2997133539-434
18Shrewsbury TownShrewsbury31810132832-434
19Fleetwood TownFleetwood30711124451-732
20AFC Wimbledon30612123646-1030
23Crewe AlexandraCrewe3057182552-2722
24Doncaster RoversDoncaster3164212259-3722
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11Aston Villa2182112832-426
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15Leeds UnitedLeeds215792440-1622
17Newcastle UnitedNewcastle2239102444-2018
18Norwich CityNorwich2244141345-3216
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