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

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

Two sides at opposite ends of the League One table go head to head at the Stadium of Light on Tuesday evening, with promotion-chasing Sunderland hosting relegation-threatened Morecambe.

The hosts remain in the playoff places in the third tier despite the poor run of form that they find themselves on, whilst the visitors came out victorious in the FA Cup at the weekend but remain in trouble in the league.

Match preview

Sunderland's 1-1 draw with fellow playoff-hopefuls Oxford United on Saturday means it is now just two wins in their last 11 matches across all competitions for Lee Johnson's men.

With three of the four sides above them in the League One table playing in the second round of the FA Cup at the weekend, and with the other side Wycombe Wanderers only drawing themselves, the two dropped points meant it was a missed opportunity to gain ground on their rivals.

Although, despite their troubles of late, the Black Cats remain in a strong position of fifth, and just two points off Rotherham United at the summit ahead of the midweek round of action.

Johnson will be disappointed that his side were unable to claim all three points at the Stadium of Light on Saturday though, with a strong second-half display yielding no rewards come the final whistle.

Leon Dajaku provided the opener for the hosts inside seven minutes, but after being pegged back just after the half-hour mark, Sunderland went in level at half time and were in need of an improvement in the second 45 following a poor first-half performance.

A far greater threat was provided after the restart but Johnson and his side could not find the winner and had to settle for the point against strong opposition, but the victory will be expected of them against struggling opponents on Tuesday evening.

Meanwhile, Morecambe head to the Stadium of Light on Tuesday for their first-ever league meeting with Sunderland, in what continues to be a difficult debut campaign in League One.

Although many will have expected the Shrimps to already be cut adrift at the bottom of the table, Steve Robinson's side do at least head to the north east in midweek outside of the relegation places for now.

Despite being absent from league action at the weekend, Morecambe remain two points above the drop at the time of writing, but could well fall into the relegation zone were results to go against them and were they to lose to the third-tier giants on Tuesday.

The division's joint second-worst defence is sure to be put to the test once more at Sunderland, and although Robinson's side have admirably taken on the difficult challenge by going at it head on with an attacking style - being the joint 10th-highest for goals scored despite their league position - they will undoubtedly need to tighten up if the goals were to dry up at the other end.

However, although they have won just one of their last nine in League One, Morecambe did come out victorious, and also record a rare clean sheet, in their 1-0 victory over Northern Premier League side Buxton on Saturday.

Cole Stockton was the hero once more, netting his 17th goal of the season across all competitions for his side to set up a potentially-lucrative third round tie in the FA Cup.

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

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

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

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

Team News

Sunderland's injury list grew even further prior to their draw with Oxford at the weekend, with Frederik Alves and Will Harris missing out.

The duo are expected to miss out again in the week, and join Ellis Taylor as short-term absentees, who is unavailable due to illness.

Aiden McGeady, Luke O'Nien, Dennis Cirkin, Denver Hume and Corry Evans are also included on the long list of absentees for Johnson to deal with, meaning a number of youngster are expected to be involved in the matchday squad again.

Meanwhile, Morecambe are near to handing Jonathan Obika his debut for the club following his first involvement in the squad on Saturday, although his lack of match fitness meant he failed to appear from the substitutes bench.

He is likely to have to wait for his debut once more in midweek, whilst Aaron Wildig and Josh McPake are also nearing returns from injury following their involvement in a reserves fixture last week.

Stockton came through unscatched with another match-winning performance against Buxton following his return from injury, and the star man will lead the line once more.

Kyle Letheren also returned between the posts on Saturday, and will battle Jokull Andresson for the number one spot in goal.

Sunderland possible starting lineup:
Hoffmann; Wright, Flanagan, Doyle; Gooch, Neil, Winchester, Dajaku; O'Brien; Stewart, Broadhead

Morecambe possible starting lineup:
Letheren; McLaughlin, O'Connor, Delaney, Leigh; McLoughlin, Diagouraga, McCalmont; McDonald, Stockton, Gnahoua

We say: Sunderland 2-1 Morecambe

Although we can see Morecambe managing to score at the Stadium of Light on Tuesday, their leaky defence is sure to cause them numerous problems once more, and we are predicting a home win for Sunderland as a result.

The Black Cats are still playing far from their best at present, but they should possess the quality to see off their struggling opponents in this one.

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:data

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