Sunderland v Charlton preview: League One clash live on Sky Sports Football
Last Updated: 04/08/18 11:15am
Sunderland will be without at least three of their new signings for their first competitive game under boss Jack Ross, Saturday’s Sky Bet League One campaign opener against Charlton at the Stadium of Light.
Summer arrivals Charlie Wyke, Tom Flanagan and Reece James, plus Duncan Watmore and Aiden McGeady, have been ruled out, while Ethan Robson is expected to be unavailable, and Dylan McGeouch, another new recruit, is a doubt.
There could be debuts for Chris Maguire, Jerome Sinclair, Luke O’Nien, Glenn Loovens, Jack Baldwin, Alim Ozturk and Jon McLaughlin. Ross has said the hope with Wyke is that he will be back in training within the next three weeks, although it may take longer, and that the injury Flanagan has means he is set to spend a minimum of a fortnight on the sidelines.
It remains to be seen whether one of Charlton’s new players, Lyle Taylor, is involved. The striker, who joined in June after leaving AFC Wimbledon, missed last Saturday’s 1-0 friendly win over Norwich due to injury, with the Addicks saying he would receive further treatment ahead of the Sunderland game.
Fellow new recruit Darren Pratley could make his competitive bow for the club. Anfernee Dijksteel, who has had pneumonia, is back in training but caretaker boss Lee Bowyer has said the plan is that the first time he will play this season will be in the EFL Cup against MK Dons on August 14.
Sunderland will be kicking off in the third tier of English football for the first time since 1987-88, a season in which they went on to win the division with 93 points from 46 games.
This will be Charlton's fourth visit to Sunderland on the opening day, losing twice but winning the most recent such game there in 2005-06, when the Addicks ran out 3-1 winners thanks to a brace from Darren Bent and a goal from Danny Murphy.
Since managing just one victory in 14 games against Sunderland between 1993 and 2002 (D9 L4), Charlton have won each of their last three league games against the Black Cats, all in the Premier League.
Sunderland are winless in eight opening day fixtures since a 1-0 win away at Bolton in 2009-10. They last won on the opening day at home back in 2007-08 against Tottenham, thanks to a 90th minute winner from Michael Chopra.
Charlton boss Lee Bowyer once won seven straight league meetings against Sunderland as a Leeds United player between 1996 and 2002, scoring three times in the process. Indeed, he only lost two of 15 overall league meetings with the Black Cats during his playing days.
It's been a dismal couple of years for Sunderland, it's as simple as that. They now find themselves in League One and that will really sink in on Saturday.
Charlton just fell short in the play-offs last season and there's still some uncertainty at the club with Lee Bowyer still being left in caretaker charge. However, I think the Addicks could go to the Stadium of Light and nick this one.
David Prutton predicts: 0-1 with Lyle Taylor to score first (40/1 with Sky Bet)