Sunderland host Shrewsbury at the Stadium of Light in a Good Friday clash that could put Sunderland in a very comfortable position to secure a play-off place while keeping their promotion dreams alive.
The Black Cats are currently sixth in the League One table equaling Sheffield Wednesday and Wycombe Wanderers on points, so a win today is important to keep their hopes of promotion to the Championship in their hands.
Although their opponents have nothing to play for as they sit comfortably in 16th place, 11 points from relegation, they will not be an easy team to beat as they currently have the third best defensive record in the entire league conceding just 40 goals in 42 games. so Sunderland will need to deploy their best attack to take down Shrewsbury.
In terms of squad and injury news, Alex Neil has confirmed that Leon Dajaku is still not available for selection after falling ill, however Alex Pritchard could be in contention to start as the Sunderland manager gave a update on his fitness in his pre-match press. conference.
Neil told the press;
“Alex is making good progress.”
Long-term injuries remain unchanged with an update on Aidan McGeady’s chances of playing for the team again this season, the Black Cats boss said Thursday;
“I’m hopeful that in the next week, he might start joining training again, but it will very much depend on how he goes through these next steps in terms of what he looks like in the next few days.”
That said, here’s how Football Fancast expects Sunderland to line up this afternoon…
We expect to see just one change from the team that won against Oxford United to keep the winning momentum going in the team against Shrewsbury, with the same 3-5-2 formation.
We predict that Elliot Embleton will start in the squad after his huge impact in Sunderland’s last two games, with the player being the key piece in securing a playoff place at the end of the season after a late assist against Gillingham that secured all three. points and an 89. minute game-winning goal against Oxford last weekend.
The 23-year-old, who was hailed as “excellent” by the Mackems manager, has definitely shown that he deserves a place in the starting line-up and Neil’s selection of the midfielder could be a huge boost if he can make a contribution from goal for the third time in a row in today’s match. match.
To make way for Embleton’s start, we expect Nathan Broadhead, on loan from Everton, to step down from the central attacking role, but he could easily make a late appearance in the squad if Sunderland find themselves chasing a goal in the latter stages of the clash.
Will Sunderland beat Shrewsbury today?
The £2.9kp/w jewel, who was hailed as ‘fantastic’ by Lee Johnson, has scored nine goals in 20 appearances this season proving to be a constant attacking threat in Sunderland’s forward line, despite picking up injury in the hamstring that has limited his ability. to make a bigger impact this season.
Neil hopes to continue his impressive League One record with eight games unbeaten in his 10 games in charge at the club so far, and promotion to this season would be a huge achievement for the Scottish manager in his short term so far.
In other news: Neil must avert disaster at £1.4kp/w “young Paul Gascoigne”, he is SAFC’s best hope