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What's the story? Sunderland vs Wycombe

A quick look at the storylines ahead of the meeting of the Black Cats and Chairboys.

16 November 2018

A few short sharp snippets to muse over ahead of kick-off...

Sunderland soaring
The Black Cats come into this game on the back of an eight-game winning run, and 11 games unbeaten since suffering their only League 1 defeat to date at Burton. They're the second top scorers in the division, with the tighest defence. They have a chance to go top, and end a 22-year wait for a run of nine successive victories.

Underdog spirit
Wycombe have demonstrated their ability to punch above their weight in the third tier with impressive displays at Bradford, Charlton and Portsmouth in particular, and defeated third-placed Peterborough at Adams Park a fortnight ago.

Travel sickness?
Gareth Ainsworth's men have been well-renowned for their excellent form away from home in previous years, but they've been on the wrong side of single-goal margins by Walsall, Coventry and Charlton in recent weeks, leaving them without a victory on the road since August. However, that came during an overnight trip to Bradford, which could bode well for the long journey north on Friday, having also claimed points at Plymouth and Fleetwood which were preceded by hotel stays the night before.

Familiar face
The gulf in distance and league status throughout the years means that there've been very few players to represent both clubs; Louis Laing, Billy Knott, John Cornforth and Paul Hardyman's five-a-side team of Sunderland-Wycombe connections can be completed by the inclusion of Luke O'Nien, who had to be patient for a chance after leaving Adams Park for the Stadium of Light in July, but has featured in their last six fixtures and could get a runout against his former team-mates from the bench at least.

A manager in common
Boyhood Sunderland fan Martin O'Neill earned the chance to manage the Black Cats in the top-flight, spending 14 months at the helm from December 2011. He of course was the man to steer the Chairboys into the Football League, winning successive promotions and two FA Trophy victories in the early 90s.

International venue
Steve Guppy became the first player to feature for Wycombe and represent England at a professional level, winning his one and only international cap at the Stadium of Light in 1999.

Making the effort
Wanderers look set to take more fans to the north-east than they did to Portsmouth, Coventry or Luton, with close to 750 tickets sold in advance for their first ever visit to the Stadium of Light. The game isn't being shown live on iFollow - the result of an EFL review into live streaming of matches during international weekends - so a seat at the Stadium of Light is the only place to watch the game.

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