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MATCH PREVIEW – Doncaster Rovers vs Sunderland AFC: Black Cats can move into automatic promotion places with win

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Sunderland know a win over Doncaster would see them move into second...

Sunderland travel to relegation-threatened Doncaster Rovers on Monday afternoon knowing a win would see them move into second and within a point of table toppers Rotherham.

The Black Cats haven’t played since their decent display away at the Emirates in the Carabao Cup and will be hoping they have the quality to collect the three points to take them into the League One automatic promotion places.

The hosts, on the other hand, head into the game without a win over the visitors in any of the last six meetings between the sides since 2015 and sit just one point above the foot of the table in 23rd.

Doncaster haven’t played since the 11th December, when they picked up just their fourth league win this term in the 1-0 victory over Shrewsbury, who were hugely wasteful on the day.

Sunderland are currently seven games unbeaten in League One (4 wins and 3 draws) and were disappointed by the 1-1 scoreline last time out at Portman Road, as Nathan Broadhead netted his fifth of the season.

However, the visitors are without their star striker after the Everton-loanee limped off in the 5-1 defeat to Arsenal, having suffered a repeat of a hamstring injury.

Johnson’s side will be confident they can get back to winning ways this afternoon and continue their unbeaten run against Doncaster which dates back to 2015. The team in Red and White are looking for promotion back to the Championship after three long years in the third tier and will expecting to add three more points to their tally at the Keepmoat Stadium.

The Black Cats have moved to a more direct style in recent weeks which features front-foot, attacking football and they showed glimpses of their quality against Premier League opposition last time out.

Despite losing 5-1, the Wearsiders made a good account of themselves both on and off the pitch, and will be full of confidence ahead of their clash with Rovers. A win would see the Wearsiders leapfrog the Latics in second after their Boxing Day game was cancelled due to Covid.

The hosts are by far the lowest scoring side in the league and have netted just 13 times in 21 games. Since gaining promotion to League One in 2017, Doncaster have improved each season but this campaign has been a struggle for the home side who are currently second bottom of League One.

Sunderland have struggled away from home at times this season and need to pick up the three points to keep the pressure on their promotion rivals, especially with Rotherham slipping up yesterday afternoon in their 1-0 away loss at Accrington Stanley.

Today is a huge opportunity for the visitors. It’s the last away trip of 2021 for the Black Cats who seek their fourteenth win this campaign as 20 places and 27 points separate the two sides. Sunderland won 4-1 when the two sides last met back in February.

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  • Monday’s game will mark the 10th meeting between Doncaster Rovers and Sunderland. The hosts have won just one of their previous meetings while the visitors have won six times. There have been two draws between the two sides.
  • Doncaster Rovers have lost just two of their last nine home league matches (W4 D3) since a six-game losing run between April and August.
  • Sunderland manager Lee Johnson is looking to win away at Doncaster in the league for the first time since August 2014, when he was Oldham manager. He has lost once since then, a 2-1 defeat with Barnsley in October 2015.

TEAM NEWS

The most notable absentee is on-loan Everton striker Nathan Broadhead who suffered a hamstring injury last time out in the Carabao Cup quarter-final having got his side back into the game with a sublime chip.

Broadhead has scored seven goals this term, with five of those coming in League One, with the 23-year-old netting four in his last three games, making him a big miss for the visitors on Monday afternoon.

Luke O’Nien is set to sit out his eighth consecutive game after picking up an injury in November’s clash with Shrewsbury Town, while Aiden McGeady is not expected to feature until January after sustaining a knee problem. Leon Dajaku hobbled off the pitch after just 41 minutes in versus Ipswich Town two Saturdays ago and but the German forward is expected to make the match-day squad.

Both Dennis Cirkin and Corry Evans have been sidelined through hernia and calf problems respectively and are yet to return to full fitness, meaning they’re unlikely to return to the starting eleven this afternoon.

Doncaster Rovers have been fielding a very young team in recent weeks given their long injury list, but the players have shown plenty of fighting spirit under caretaker boss Gary McSheffrey and will need that in abundance on Monday when they face the promotion favourites.

Fejiri Okenabirhie, Ben Close, John Bostock and Anthony Greaves are all unavailable for selection due to injuries and will miss the game against Sunderland.

POTENTIAL LINE-UPs

SAFC:                                                                                                                                       Doncaster:

 

 

Pre-match thoughts? Can Sunderland move into the automatic promotion places? Will Johnson’s side extend their unbeaten run?

Join in the conversation and have your say…

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Saudi Arabia wants its investors to own Manchester United

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North East Updates - Breaking News

Sports minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al-Faisal revealed the country’s latest sporting ambitions in an interview with Sky News – with the sovereign wealth fund already owning Newcastle and now funding a breakaway golf series.

 

Sports minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al-Faisal revealed the country’s latest sporting ambitions in an interview with Sky News – with the sovereign wealth fund already owning Newcastle and now funding a breakaway golf series.

 

It follows the Manchester United board announcing that they are open to a sale of the club.

Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al-Faisalstated he would be keen on Ronaldo signing for a Saudi Pro League after the World Cup, with the 37-year-old a free agent following a controversial interview and exit to Manchester United earlier this week..

 

“Who wouldn’t want him to play in their league?” “He’s a role model to a lot of young players – him and Messi.”

 

Sky news are reporting – It is the availability of United – after the Glazers announced plans for a potential sale – and Ronaldo that is interesting Prince Abdulaziz.

 

What are your thoughts on this – join the conversation on our Facebook page.

 

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Which Newcastle Players Are Going To The World Cup?

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Newcastle

The FIFA World Cup in Qatar gets underway next week and here are all the Newcastle players involved in the tournament

Callum Wilson (England)

Newcastle striker Callum Wilson is a player that has consistently shown the quality to earn a spot in an England squad at a major tournament but has sadly had his chances diminished by injuries in the past.

However, Wilson is currently injury free and is on the plane to Qatar! The Coventry City academy graduate averages a goal every 130 minutes in the Premier League this season, which is the second-best return of all English players behind Harry Kane.

The 30-year-old may have to bide his time for an opportunity due to England captain Harry Kane being the first-choice striker. That said, Wilson gives Gareth Southgate a great alternative should England find themselves chasing a game.

Kieran Trippier (England)

Gareth Southgate has always been very fond of Kieran Trippier’s abilities and what he brings to a team. For example, in Euro 2020 Southgate opted to play Trippier at left-back ahead of a more natural option in Ben Chilwell due to the 32-year-old’s experience and leadership qualities.

Trippier brings bags of experience at major tournaments after reaching the semi-final of the 2018 World Cup and the final of Euro 2020.

With injuries at right-back to the likes of Reece James and uncertainty around the fitness of Kyle Walker, Trippier could start at right wing-back in England’s World Cup opener against Iran.

Nick Pope (England)

The last player to complete The Magpies’ England trio is Nick Pope. Toon’s No.1 has been outstanding since arriving from Burnley in the Summer and has earnt his place in England’s World Cup squad.

Pope has the joint most clean sheets in the Premier League this season (6) alongside Manchester City goalkeeper, Ederson and fellow England goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale.

It remains to be seen if Gareth Southgate picks Pope to be his first-choice goalkeeper in Qatar ahead of Jordan Pickford and Aaron Ramsdale. Pope started both of England’s last games in the Nations League back in September.

Bruno Guimarães (Brazil)

Moving to South America and the favourites to win the competition, Brazil. Bruno Guimarães has been one of Newcastle’s stand-out players this season and has deservedly earned himself a spot in Brazil’s very competitive World Cup Squad.

Guimarães has statistically been the best midfielder in the Premier League so far this season and will be hoping his performances have done enough to earn him a start against Serbia in Brazil’s opening fixture.

That said, Brazil manager Adenor Leonardo Bacchi has predominantly played with a midfield two of Manchester United duo, Casemiro and Fred at the base of the Brazilian midfield.

Fabian Schär (Switzerland)

The Magpies’ centre-back has been in great form alongside Sven Botman at the heart of Newcastle’s defence this season and will be hoping to continue his form in Qatar.

Schär has some tough competition in his position in the form of Manchester City centre-back Manuel Akanji and Borussia Monchengladbach’s Nico Elvedi.

Switzerland find themselves in the same group as tournament favourites Brazil, which will see Schär reunited with Toon teammate Bruno Guimarães in Gameweek 2.

Who didn’t make the squad?

The most surprising player to not make their country’s squad is Sven Botman. The former Lille centre-back has been a major part of why Newcastle has the Premier League’s best defence so far this campaign.

Louis van Gaal has a great pool of centre-backs available to him and opted for the likes of Virgil van Dijk, Matthijs de Ligt, Stefan de Vrij and Nathan Ake over Botman.

Another Toon player with World Cup disappointment is Joelinton, who has failed to follow Bruno Guimarães on the plane to Qatar.

Joelinton has been a revelation under Eddie Howe following his remarkable transformation from a striker to a box-to-box midfielder. Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be for Joelinton this year.

Have Your Say

Who do you think will win the World Cup?

Which Newcastle player will be the best performer?

Let us know on our Facebook page!

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What We Learnt (Spurs 1-2 Newcastle)

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deadline day

Newcastle United were victorious at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium yesterday, winning 2-1 and now sit fourth in the Premier League. This is the first time they’ve been there at this stage of the season in 10 years.

 

Goals from Callum Wilson and Miguel Almiron were enough to scare away any chances of a second-half Spurs comeback. That’s six goals for Miggy in what is now his best-ever season for goals in black and white.

 

With 21 points, just five behind Manchester City and seven behind current league leaders Arsenal, the Toon are looking better than ever, but what did the victory yesterday tell us?

 

Toon are charging for Europe

 

If you didn’t believe it at the start of the season you should now. Eddie Howe has transformed Newcastle into a team with a winning mentality with a real sense of togetherness in a squad who are willing to battle for one another, week in and week out.

 

Very few teams will travel to London this season and manage to come away with a point, never mind three when playing Spurs. Not only this game, however, but Man City (3-3), Liverpool (2-1) and Brentford (5-1) have also shown that Howe and his side mean business this season and are willing to go toe to toe with some of the very best teams, coaches and players in the world. 

 

In his first signing interview, Sven Botman said, “Newcastle wants to reach the top and the top is in the league and, at the end, maybe in Europe.” Maybe he didn’t specifically mean this season but now he and the rest of his teammates should believe that they have a real chance of playing European football next season.

 

Almiron transformation shouldn’t go unnoticed

 

Almiron made 30 appearances last season in the league and finished with just one goal and no assists. Now, after just 12 games and six goals, the Paraguayan is already on course to smash his previous goal-scoring records which have seen him accumulate nine Premier League goals over the course of four seasons. 

 

Loved by the fans and with the full support of his teammates, it can only get better for the Paraguayan at this point. His goal against Tottenham showed the dribbling, flair and finishing quality he withholds, something that Steve Bruce and Rafael Benitez could never get out of him.

 

Eddie Howe must be awarded credit for this development, as with the current budget the club has, he could’ve easily found a replacement in the summer. But, just like Joelinton, Miggy has cemented his spot in Newcastle’s starting eleven and is proving every week why he deserves to be there.

 

Wilson & Burn should be considered by Southgate 

 

On TalkSport recently, Neil Warnock warned Gareth Southgate saying his loyalty to players might be his downfall and said Dan Burn is “Mr Steady Eddie” referring to his versatility, being able to play left-back or centre-back.

 

Burn started 28 Premier League games last season and this season has 11 out of 12. His consistent dominating performances in Newcastle’s back line have put him into the conversation for a first-ever England call-up and I don’t think many would disagree. With John Stoned injured, Harry Maguire and Tyrone Mings not in good form and not getting regular game time, Gareth Southgate’s defensive decisions should now be a lot more challenging.

 

Callum Wilson has proved yet again his abilities as a top Premier League striker. His goal against Spurs not only put him in the headlines over England captain Harry Kane but also made it four in eight for the English man this season who has averaged 2.8 shots per game with an average scoring frequency of 162 minutes. 

 

With no clear-cut backup striker to Kane, is Wilson ahead of Ivan Toney and Tammy Abraham in the race to be England’s number two striker?

 

So, what do you think? Do Newcastle have a serious chance at European football next season, can Almiron stay at his best and should Wilson and Burn be considered for a World Cup call-up?

 

Join the conversation on our Facebook page …

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