Sunderland at The Valley again

We've played this lot before.

When it really matters we always win but, on the whole, there has rarely been much between the two teams. Since the first encounter in November 1936 there have been 79 games with Charlton winning 30, Sunderland 28 and 21 drawn. If you go back a few years you'll find that they have given us a fair share of 4 goal pastings and there is also the small matter of the September 1956 1-8 defeat at Roker Park which led to the infamous "resignation" of Jimmy Seed. But, recently, most matches have been very closely contested - as evidenced by both Wembley encounters.

in February 1993 Sunderland became the first team to beat us back at The Valley but, since then, in a further nine attempts, they have only managed one more win in SE7. This was in a Premier League game in November 2000 when perennial Valley favourite Alex Rae was their goal scorer. Despite the fact that the game took place two and a half years after Wembley 1998 the Sunderland team that day included Makin, Craddock, Gray, Rae, Phillips and Quinn with Dichio coming on as a substitute. In contrast, Charlton's squad had changed considerably and we only fielded two veterans of "the greatest game"* (see below)

Six of the Sunderland games at The Valley since 1992 have been drawn. We have only won twice - a David White goal saw us home in February 1995 and the Darrens Bent and Ambrose scored in a 2-0 win in December 2005 on the day of the club's centenary dinner. Sunderland were to finish that season fifteen points adrift at the bottom of the Premier League and there was to be a fourteen year gap before they returned for the 1-1 draw in January 2019.

A late equaliser from Chris Maguire meant that Sunderland salvaged a point from their opening game at home to Bristol Rovers and the result must have sparked fears among fans that another season of underachievement was on the cards. However, they have since won 2-0 at Oxford and 1-0 at home to Peterborough and now sit in the play-off positions with only one goal conceded in three league games. Phil Parkinson's squad is not short of experience -  Grant Leadbitter (34) and Danny Graham (35) have both returned.  Maguire (31) is starting his third season up there. However, there will be no Aiden McGeady as his contract expired this summer. In addition, the expensive Will Grigg is still on the books although he has been an unused substitute for the last two games.

Charlton's last two performances have been dismal and they currently languish below Gillingham, Accrington and AFC Wimbledon among others. It will be interesting to see whether the signing of Marcus Maddison will have any sort of galvanising effect. He was described by Peterborough owner Darragh MacAnthony earlier this year as "high maintenance" and he made little impact at Hull but it is unlikely that Lee Bowyer has signed him without being convinced that he can get the best out of him. He spoke to Richard Cawley today about ironing out the negatives:

Thomas Sandgaard is flying in for his first home game since acquiring the club and will be in the Valley Pass commentary box. It would be great to greet him with a win but, to be honest, at this stage a draw might not be a bad outcome.

Details of how to watch the game on Valley Pass are here:


*Mark Kinsella and Richard Rufus