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Sep 28, 2021 at 7.45pm UK
CheltenhamCheltenham Town
Wright (11'), Stewart (28', 38'), O'Nien (65'), Dajaku (66')
FT(HT: 3-0)

Freestone (30'), May (52'), Thomas (81')

Preview: Sunderland vs. Cheltenham Town - prediction, team news, lineups

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

Promotion-chasing Sunderland welcome Cheltenham Town to the Stadium of Light on Tuesday, with either side pursuing the points to fulfil their respective ambitions.

While the home side are seeking a seventh win from nine games as they aim to finally return to the second tier, the visitors wish to boost their tally in order to achieve mid-table security.

Match preview

Still only beaten once in the league, by Burton Albion back in August - when the Brewers ran out fortuitous winners by scoring with their only shot on target - Sunderland hosted Bolton Wanderers on Saturday afternoon full of confidence and perhaps expecting a comfortable three points.

However, the Black Cats' failure to add to an early lead made for a tense conclusion at the Stadium of Light, where the hosts only made it five home wins out of five this season thanks to Carl Winchester's 17th-minute strike.

Though Bolton put them under some serious pressure during spells in the second half, Lee Johnson's men emerged with the all-important points and recovered ground lost to their likely rivals for direct entry to the Championship next spring.

Sunderland had previously let a two-goal advantage slip at Fleetwood Town to end up with only a point, so recording a clean sheet and a win will have pleased Johnson ahead of his side's final fixture of a successful month so far.

With a hectic eight-game October schedule lying in wait, the Wearsiders are now keen to establish their credentials as automatic promotion candidates after an agonisingly prolonged stay in League One.

A goal in either half from Callum Lang and Charlie Wyke saw leaders Wigan brush off the challenge of Cheltenham on Saturday, which brought about the Robins' second defeat in as many matches, within the space of a few days.

Ultimately beaten by the better team, Michael Duff's men never really laid a glove on their opponents; much like in a 4-1 defeat to Preston in the EFL Cup last Tuesday.

Nonetheless, they are unlikely to be too downhearted, as Duff is realistic about their ability to trouble the top teams, given a limited budget compared to some substantially-backed clubs at the other end of the table.

Cheltenham currently sit 14th - clear of the drop zone at this early stage - and were unbeaten in their previous four league games; drawing two and then coming out on top against both Charlton and Oxford United.

After 13 competitive games this term, the Robins have now finally failed to score, but they have proved a difficult problem to solve for most opponents and will fancy giving Sunderland a tough contest in front of 30,000 fans.

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

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

Cheltenham Town League One form:
  • L
  • D
  • D
  • W
  • W
  • L

Cheltenham Town form (all competitions):
  • L
  • D
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • L

Team News

While Callum Doyle went off in Sunderland's win over Bolton and is a doubt for Tuesday's game, Lynden Gooch was not named in the squad and is expected to miss out again with a foot injury, which he picked up in training last week.

Impressive performances from Niall Huggins and Nathan Broadhead in the EFL Cup win over Wigan have given them a shot at selection should Lee Johnson decide to rotate his squad, but Ross Stewart remains favourite to start up front for the home side.

Cheltenham, meanwhile, will have loanee Callum Wright out of action for a considerable period of time with a knee injury, with the worst case scenario for the Leicester City youngster being up to six months on the sidelines.

Charlie Raglan returned from injury as a substitute at Preston, but aggravated the problem in training on Friday and subsequently missed out at the weekend. If fit, he could join the back three, which should be led by Sean Long.

At the weekend, there was another appearance from the bench for Kyle Vassell too, and Robins manager Michael Duff has intimated the Northern Ireland international may now be involved from the start.

Sunderland possible starting lineup:
Hoffmann; Winchester, Flanagan, Doyle, Huggins; Neil, O'Nien; McGeady, Pritchard, Embleton; Stewart

Cheltenham Town possible starting lineup:
Flinders; Long, Raglan, Freestone; Blair, Sercombe, Thomas, Chapman, Hussey; May, Vassell

We say: Sunderland 2-1 Cheltenham Town

Sunderland are strong favourites - as they are in most home matches - but will not necessarily have things their own way throughout the 90 minutes.

Not only do Cheltenham delight in upsetting the odds, they regularly hit the net too. Only a slight weakness at the back could prove their undoing in the end.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting under 3.5 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.Under 3.5:curl

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