MATCH PREVIEW – Wycombe Wanderers vs Sunderland AFC: Adams Park set for top four clash as Black Cats can move top with win
Sunderland face a tough away trip to fourth placed Wycombe Wanderers on Saturday afternoon and know that a win could see them start the new year by moving to the top of League One.
Johnson’s side demolished the Owls 5-0 last time out and will be looking to start 2022 in a similar fashion with a win over promotion rivals Wycombe.
Ross Stewart followed his impressive performance against Doncaster with a man-of-the-match showing at the Stadium of Light where he netted a hat-trick. The Black Cats are on a nine-game unbeaten league run and have scored eight goals in their previous two games whilst keeping clean sheets on both occasions – ending 2021 in great style.
These results show the free-scoring nature of the side who struggled to find their feet at the start of the season. However, Johnson has moved to a more front-foot, direct and attacking approach in which key attacking players such as Stewart and Alex Pritchard are thriving.
Sunderland are one of the most in-form sides in English football and know a win could see them leapfrog Rotherham who sit a point ahead in first. The Millers face a difficult battle with Championship side QPR in the FA Cup on Saturday and could drop to second if the Wearisders claim all three points against The Chairboys.
The Black Cats travel south to Buckinghamshire, where they face a side they beat 3-1 when the teams met in the North-East last August, with Stewart striking twice on that occasion. Against a rising tide of illness and injuries in the camp, Sunderland would gladly take a repeat result on Saturday.
The team from Wearside have a kind run of away games ahead and will be keen to get off to the perfect start in the early game tomorrow, 12:30pm kick-off.
Before visiting title rivals Wigan at the end of February, home games against Portsmouth and MK Dons will likely provide the sternest tests. Their superb form at the Stadium of Light means Johnson can be confident of consolidating his side’s position in the coming weeks. Sunderland push for promotion to the Championship after three long years in the third tier.
Following a blip in November, when they lost four of their first five fixtures, the Chairboys have since climbed up the standings and are in contention for an immediate return to the Championship after their demotion last year.
Winning games against their key rivals such as Sunderland, though, could prove the difference between success and failure in their quest for promotion straight back to the second tier. A win on Saturday could take them up to third and within a point of their opponents, and make it back-to-back wins in League One.
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A number of players have been ruled out with the virus, as on-loan defender Frederik Alves joined Aiden O’Brien, Ellis Taylor, and injury absentees Luke O’Nien and Jordan Willis on the sidelines this week.
Lee Johnson, then, will be nervously waiting for some to test negative so that they can return to first-team action by Saturday, as his squad was already depleted due to injuries and could drop below the 14-man minimum required.
Carl Winchester – who has missed the last two games with a calf problem – is hopeful that he will be fit to feature if needed, but Everton loanee Nathan Broadhead is out with a hamstring injury until spring, so in-form Ross Stewart continues to lead the line up front.
Lee Johnson may throw new signing Trai Hume straight into the starting XI when Sunderland face Wycombe and the 19-year-old could potentially replace Dajaku, who is playing out of position at full-back.
Gareth Ainsworth, who is back in the camp after missing two games through COVID isolation, will be hoping that his side can replicate their recent 1-0 success away at Charlton in order to keep up the pressure at the top of a hotly contested League One.
Sullay Kaikai is unavailable, having left for Cameroon, where he will represent Sierra Leone at the Africa Cup of Nations. Ainsworth can call upon Jack Grimmer, who made a return to the team at Charlton and should play on Saturday, while Ryan Tafazolli remains a doubt.
Young defender Chris Forino-Joseph will be a starter once again for the Chairboys’ as he has in last two matches and has showed impressive form since his introduction into the starting eleven.
Pre-match thoughts? Score predictions? Will Johnson’s side have enough to go top?
Join in the conversation and have your say…
Newcastle United to Reveal New Shirt Sponsor?
footballinsider247 are reporting that the main shirt sponsor slot for Newcastle United is expected to be filled by airline SAUDI, who sponsored Newcastle’s mid-season tour of their owners’ homeland in December.
They state ‘This site revealed in February that there is frustration at St James’ Park that they have inherited a kit deal with Castore worth just £5m per year with no break clause and several seasons left to run.’
Newcastle’s recently appointed CEO Darren Eales has already previously expressed that the club at looking at all commercial opportunities and fans on Twitter were keen to mock up their expectation for the new shirts, see below and let us know your thoughts and also see our below video on how NUFC can increase commercial avenues..
Eddie Howe’s team are currently in a strong position to achieve a European slot which would increase revenue into the club allowing more spend whilst staying within Financial Fair Play which is something Howe has spoken about on several occasions as they look to stay within. If the club do reach a European slot it should help significantly with recruitment in the summer by making it a more attractive proposition to any incoming targets.
What do you think of the kits – let us know on our facebook page and join in on the conversation.
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Credit: NUFC kit concept – twitter
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Amazon filming Newcastle United for “All or Nothing” style documentary
Amazon Prime are currently filming behind-the-scenes footage at Newcastle United for a new documentary.
The docu-series will provide an insight into the club and its efforts to secure a top-four finish and a piece of silverware in the 2022-23 season.
Reports today revealed that camera crews have been filming a four-part documentary for their All or Nothing series. Sky Sports’ Keith Downie confirmed that the series will cover the club and the new owners as they attempt to qualify for the Champions League and win a trophy.
The All or Nothing series has previously documented other Premier League Clubs including Manchester City, Arsenal, and Spurs as well as the Brazilian national team, Juventus, and the All Blacks of rugby.
Something I mentioned last night on @tfNUFC: Camera crews have been filming behind-the-scenes at Newcastle United for a four-part documentary to be shown on Amazon.
The series will chart the club & its owners as they attempt to win a trophy & qualify for The Champ League #NUFC
— Keith Downie (@SkySports_Keith) February 8, 2023
Newcastle face Manchester United in the Carabao Cup final on February 26 at Wembley.
🗓️ 26.02.23@ManUtd 🆚 @NUFC #EFL | #CarabaoCup pic.twitter.com/V23zWPDoxP
— Carabao Cup (@Carabao_Cup) February 1, 2023
The Magpies have featured three times in Europe’s most prestigious competition.
Most recently in the 2003-04 season as they reached the third qualifying round, eventually losing on penalties to Serbian side FK Partizan.
The season before the Toon finished third in the 2002-03 Champions League group stages, winning twice against Bayer Leverkusen and drawing with Inter Milan 2-2 at the San Siro. The lineup that night; Given, Solano, O’Brien, Dyer, Shearer (C), Bellamy, Speed, Griffin, Hughes, Dabizas and Viana.
The series is expected to air later this year and will be available on Amazon Prime.
Based on previous seasons, you can expect exclusive access to training sessions, team meetings and match days, giving fans an in-depth look at what goes on behind the scenes on a day-to-day basis at Newcastle United.
It is set to be an incredible storyline and one that should provide fans with some real insight into what it takes to compete at the top level of professional football.
What do you think Newcastle fans?
Does this excite you or do you stand more with Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp who once said the cameras could be intrusive to the dressing room when he turned down the offer from Amazon In 2018?
Join the conversation on our Facebook page…
Newcastle target rejects Everton move following £45m bid.
Everton have made a £40million bid with £5m in add-ons to sign Connor Gallagher from Chelsea.
This comes after Newcastle completed the signing of Anthony Gordon, the club’s second most expensive transfer behind Alexander Isak.
Everton received an initial fee of £40m plus add-ons that could increase the deal to £45m.
EXCL: Everton have submitted a bid to sign Conor Gallagher from Chelsea. It’s £40m proposal plus £5m add ons. 🚨🔵 #EFC
Chelsea will make a decision soon as there are also other clubs interested in Gallagher — and player has to decide his future too. pic.twitter.com/xZeuGqaR01
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) January 30, 2023
The Toffees currently sit 19th in the Premier League and are looking to reinvest the money from the Gordon deal to sign much-needed players under newly appointed manager Sean Dyche.
But, multiple sources have reported today that Gallagher is not actively pushing for a move and has no intention of going to Goodison Park. However, with Chelsea having met the record-breaking €120m release clause for World Cup winner Enzo Fernandez, Gallagher may be forced to leave the club if the transfer is complete.
🚨| Conor Gallagher is not interested in a move to Everton 🔵 pic.twitter.com/0CYzXjBoBd
— Football Daily (@footballdaily) January 30, 2023
This leaves Newcastle an option as the player would prefer a move to a top-six club.
This morning, Eddie Howe said, “We’ll see what we can do to try & bring a player in. There’s no guarantees. In terms of permanent signings, it will be very difficult. We’ll look at a potential loan. But it’s got to be the right player & not one for the sake of it”.
Due to financial fair play, the only way Newcastle could sign the player is through a loan, with an obligation to buy the player for at least £45m, the same price they paid for Anthony Gordon.
Gallagher has been playing regular Premier League football over the last two seasons. Since returning to his parent club Chelsea, the 22-year-old has been linked with a move away to numerous Premier League clubs.
Last season he was named Crystal Palace’s Player of the Season by their fans. He also won the Player of the Month award twice, Goal of the Month once, and was awarded the Young Player of Year at the 2022 London Football Awards.
In the same season, he made 36 appearances scoring eight goals and registering three assists that earned Palace a 12th-place finish, one point behind Newcastle.
Have Your Say!
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Does he start?
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