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MATCH PREVIEW – Sunderland AFC vs Oxford United: The Black Cats look to make it four league games unbeaten

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Credit: @Sunderlandafcofficial instagram - the Black Cats face Oxford on Saturday

Sunderland welcome Oxford United to the Stadium Of Light on Saturday afternoon for a top half clash in League One. 

Johnson’s side currently sit in the play-off positions and are searching for back-to-back league wins as they find themselves fifth after 18 games.

The home side head into the clash following their disappointing 1-0 defeat to Oldham Athletic in midweek which saw Sunderland crash out of the EFL Trophy.

Both sides have a couple of games in hand on their rivals and will be looking to continue their good form come 3pm on Saturday.

Oxford are six games unbeaten in the league but travel to Wearside following back-to-back scoreless draws and will be hoping for an improved performance tomorrow afternoon. Part of the reason for the slight dip in form is that the club has been hit with a number of COVID cases.

Sunderland’s form at the Stadium of Light this season has almost been perfect, losing just one of their eight league matches on home soil, while Oxford struggled on their travels at the start of this season.

The 2-1 triumph last weekend against Cambridge United ensured that the Black Cats remained fifth in the table and can draw level on points with top spot. Sunderland’s form at the Stadium of Light this season has been extremely strong, losing just one of their eight league matches on home soil.

Oxford did struggle on their travels at the start of this season but have found some away form heading into this crunch game. Johnson’s side have only conceded four goals in the North East, the best home defensive record in the division – it promises to be an interesting affair.

Credit: @oxfordunited instagram

As League One approaches the halfway stage of the fixture list, Robinson will want his Oxford side to finish the first half of the season in a strong position and give themselves something to fight for in the new year.

Sunderland hold the better record in the recent meetings between these two teams, and the Black Cats completed the double over the Yellows last season.

FORM

L L L W D W

W W W D W D

  • The Black Cats appear to have come through what they hope will be their one sticky patch of the season, taking seven points from the past three games. As well as having won the last three head-to-head meetings, Sunderland are also the team with the best home points-per-game ratio in the division.
  • Oxford have lost three of their last six away league contests and could be without some COVID-affected players.
  • The teams played 13 games among themselves, in which the Sunderland team emerged victorious in 6 matches. Oxford have won on 2 occasions while 5 meetings have ended in a draw.

TEAM NEWS

Nathan Broadhead, who is on loan from Everton, scored his first league goal for Sunderland against Cambridge and he is expected to start in an attacking role for the home side.

Luke O’Nien and Aiden McGeady are still unavailable and expected to be out until 2022. Jordan Willis, Denver Hume, Dennis Cirkin and Niall Huggin all remain sidelined for Sunderland.

Credit: @sunderlandafcofficial instagram

Oxford boss Robinson had only 13 outfield players from which to select ahead of Saturday’s 0-0 draw with Rotherham following a coronavirus outbreak within the squad, with Simon Eastwood, Anthony Forde, Elliott Moore, John Mousinho, Mark Sykes, Matty Taylor and Jordan Thorniley all isolating.

Those missing are now back in training but some are more advanced in their recovery than others.

The U’s face a selection dilemma in the goalkeeping department with. Connal Trueman coming in on an emergency loan from Birmingham City. He has now returned to the Blues and Yellows keeper Simon Eastwood is expected to return between the posts.

PREDICTED LINE-UPS

SAFC – Hoffman; O’Nien, Wright, Doyle, Gooch; Neil, Winchester; Broadhead, Pritchard, O’Brien; Stewart

Oxford United – Eastwood; Seddon, Thorniley, Moore, Long; Brannagan, Kane, Henry; Holland, Taylor, Sykes

Pre-match thoughts?

Score predictions? Will Sunderland make it back to back league wins? Can the Black Cats remain in the play-off places after the festive period?

Join in the conversation and have your say…

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Newcastle Falcons will close on Monday to mark respect for Queen Elizabeth II

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Newcastle Falcons Rugby Club have announced that they will be closed for business on Monday September 19 as a mark of respect for the state funeral of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

 

The rugby union club will close their club shop, ticket office, bars and general office operations, based in Kingston Park in Newcastle, on the national day of mourning. They will re-open from 12pm on Tuesday.

 

It is at the discretion of businesses and organisations whether they close on this bank holiday, but it is hoped that it will allow people to pay their respects to Her Majesty and commemorate Her reign. In an Instagram post, the club stated that they wish to offer their staff the opportunity to pay their respects to the monarch.

 

The Queen’s will take place at 11am on Monday, September 19 at Westminster Abbey. The public will be able to pay their respects 24 hours a day for four days until 6.30am on Monday, while the Queen lies in state in the Palace of Westminster.

 

Follow us for the latest updates.

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MATCH PREVIEW: Newcastle vs Bournemouth

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MATCH PREVIEW: NEWCASTLE VS BOURNEMOUTH

Newcastle United return to Premier League action on Saturday to host managerless Bournemouth.

The Magpies go into Saturday’s game against Bournemouth sitting in 11th place in the Premier League table, after a solid start to the season.

Newcastle are currently 2/5 (fav) to beat The Cherries and continue their unbeaten home record so far this campaign.

Eddie Howe will be hoping for his side to start turning draws into wins, with his side’s only win coming on the opening day of the season against Nottingham Forest.

Bournemouth are currently managerless, having sacked Scott Parker after their 9-0 loss to Liverpool at the end of August.

Interim boss Gary O’Neil has steadied the ship having acquired 4 points from a possible 6 since he took charge.

Prior to kick-off, fans from both sides will be asked to join a minute’s silence to pay tribute to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Following the minute’s silence, the National Anthem, God Save The King will be played around the ground. On 70 minutes, fans will be invited to join a minute’s applause to pay homage to Her Majesty’s 70-year reign.

Team News

Toon fans will welcome the news that Bruno Guimarães is close to a return to action following a hamstring injury. Eddie Howe is reportedly weighing up whether Saturday is the correct time to bring the midfielder back into contention.

Elsewhere, Daily Mail North-East correspondent, Craig Hope has revealed that winger Allan Saint-Maximin is likely to remain sidelined for this weekend’s fixture.

Long-term absentees Jonjo Shelvey, Karl Darlow, Emil Kraft and Callum Wilson are still recovering from respective injuries.

The Cherries’ welcomed winger Junior Stanislas back to training last week and he will be pushing for a place in the squad.

Meanwhile, midfielders Ben Pearson and Joe Rothwell will be unavailable until after the upcoming international break.

Newcastle’s Last 5 (Premier League) 

Newcastle 0-0 Crystal Palace (D)

Liverpool 2-1 Newcastle (L)

Wolves 1-1 Newcastle (D)

Newcastle 3-3 Manchester City (D)

Brighton 0-0 Newcastle (D)

Bournemouth’s Last 5 (Premier League) 

Nottingham Forest 2-3 Bournemouth (W)

Bournemouth 0-0 Wolves (D)

Liverpool 9-0 Bournemouth (L)

Bournemouth 0-3 Arsenal (L)

Manchester City 4-0 Bournemouth (L)

Predicted Line-ups

Newcastle: Pope; Trippier; Schär; Botman; Targett; Willock; Guimarães; Joelinton; Almirón; Fraser; Isak

Bournemouth: Neto; Smith; Mepham; Kelly; Zemura; Cook; Lerma; Christie; Billing; Tavernier; Solanke

Referee

Craig Pawson from South Yorkshire will take charge at St James’ Park on Saturday.

Pawson averages 4.75 yellow cards per game this season and is yet to give out a red card.

The Sheffield-born referee last took charge of a Magpies game on the last day of last season, which saw The Toon win 2-1 away at Burnley.

Prediction

Newcastle have failed to win since the opening day of the season and will want to make amends on Saturday with the visit of a promoted side.

However, The Magpies have been unfortunate to only win one game so far this season with the performances Eddie Howe’s side have been putting in.

The Cherries’ Interim boss, Gary O’Neil will be wanting his side to cause an upset to put him in the best possible position of getting the job on a permanent basis.

That said, I think Newcastle will claim their second win of the season with a 3-0 (Isak x2, Willock) win over Bournemouth on Saturday.

Have Your Say

Will The Magpies get back to winning ways?

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Royal chaos: NUFC possibly out of action until October and injury latest

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@Magpie24_7 via Twitter

Newcastle United’s away fixture against West Ham United has been postponed as part of the period of national mourning after the death of Queen Elizabeth II. The game had been scheduled for 2pm on Sunday 11th September, but will now be rearranged.

This comes along with all football across England’s top four tiers and non-league this weekend being suspended in the wake of the Queen’s passing. 

Whether Premier League fixtures next weekend will go ahead is as yet undecided. An announcement is expected during the week. Newcastle are set to face Bournemouth at St James’ Park on Saturday 17th, if the fixture is allowed to be played. 

For Newcastle United, the delay might prove beneficial. Bruno Guimaraes, Callum Wilson and Allan Saint-Maximin were all doubts for Sunday’s trip to London, with short term injuries. The star trio may, however, be fit in time to face Bournemouth on the 17th.

If the Bournemouth match is also suspended, the next Newcastle game would be away against Fulham on 1st October. While Jonjo Shelvey and Emil Krafth will still be unavailable with long-term injuries, the international break will provide sufficient time for the three key injured Magpies players to recover.

The Newcastle United Women’s cup fixture against Lincoln on Sunday has also been called off, as was the under-21’s game against Aston Villa on Friday.

The club made a statement, saying: “We join the world in sending our deepest condolences to the Royal Family. All flags at St. James’ Park will fly at half mast as we join the country in observing a period of national mourning.”

With possibly two weeks of football to be rescheduled, an international break and the Qatar World Cup beginning in November, Premier League clubs will face a chaotic schedule for the rest of the season. the Magpies’ lack of involvement in midweek European football could give them an advantage in the busy Premier League fixture list to come.

Controversially, this weekend’s Premiership Rugby and England’s test match against South Africa have gone ahead, whereas football across the country has been cancelled.

This led to speculation that the possibility of fans voicing their dissent during tributes may have informed the decision to suspend fixtures to avoid embarrassment.

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