Sunderland again !

I think we've played this lot before.

In fact, our record against them in recent years is impressive. We took some regular beatings in the 1980s and 1990s but, since a 0-4 defeat at Roker Park in 1993, we have lost only three of the twenty encounters. We have performed well at The Stadium of Light where we have won twice, lost twice and drawn twice. There was a thirteen year gap in fixtures after our Premier League relegation in 2006 but, in the four games since 2019, it has been mighty close. Each team has a 2-1 win secured by a last minute goal and there have been two draws.

It was December 2019 when Phil Parkinson announced that Aiden McGeady had "no future at the club". Parky wasn't the first manager to be exasperated by McGeady. Gordon Strachan froze him out at Celtic and his contract with Spartak Moscow eventually came to an end because of "ignoring team orders". Later, Roberto Martinez made him train with the youth team at Everton. The outcome of his falling out with Parkinson was that he came on loan to Charlton in January last year and, while he didn't pull up any great trees for us, he did come within a post's width of keeping us up.

He was back at The Stadium of Light for the start of this season but couldn't even get a place on the bench. However, in late November it turned out that it was Parkinson who had no future at Sunderland.

When he was replaced by Lee Johnson the team were in seventh place with 23 points from 13 games. Almost the first thing Johnson did was to recall McGeady and he has played regularly since. Sunderland now sit in third place with 71 points from 38 games and, after their 1-1 draw at Peterborough on Monday (thanks to a late equaliser by McGeady), they are unbeaten in twelve games. It is an impressive run. Since losing 1-2 at Shrewsbury in early February they have won nine and drawn three with a goal difference of 24-6. They have lost only five games all season and have the best defensive record in the division (29 conceded). They have League One's second top goal scorer in Charlie Wyke who, having scored 9 goals in 51 outings in the previous two seasons, has netted 22 in 35 this term plus 5 in the EFL Trophy which Sunderland lifted at Wembley in the middle of their recent run.

This could be Charlton's most challenging game so far this season and a draw up there would be a real achievement. Blackpool's recent form suggests that there is only one place in the play-offs left up for grabs and it looks as if we are competing with Lincoln, Ipswich and maybe Doncaster for sixth place. At present Lincoln and Ipswich have the upper hand but, with home games against both of them to come, there is all to play for.

With Ryan Innis providing stability in defence and a threat from set plays up front we don't see why we shouldn't come away with at least a point on Saturday.

To secure your stream of the game (and to be entered into the draw for up to £10,000) and to hear what Lennie Lawrence has to say as well as Patrick Bauer, Josh Cullen and JasonPearce on "that" goal: