The Chairboys return to Adams Park for their first home game of 2022 in what promises to be a blockbuster fixture.
Ahead of Saturday's League One clash, we spoke to Speak Sunderland about what to expect from the visitors.
It’s tight at the top with Sunderland sitting second on 49 points and Wycombe in fourth on 45 points, having both played 24 games. How important is this fixture going into the second half of the season?
It’s important certainly, but at this stage in the season, every fixture is important whether it’s against a promotion rivals or a relegation-threatened side. On paper, this may be our biggest test yet and a win for either side could be a huge confidence boost going forward for both sides.
The reverse fixture was one to forget for the Chairboys, but what were the takeaways for Sunderland?
If I recall correctly, Wycombe actually had more attempts on goal in that fixture yet Sunderland came away 3-1 winners. We took our chances well which has been key to our success so far this season. It has been games like that in previous seasons we would have came away with a point, if anything at all. Wycombe are notorious for being a very tough side to break down and the fact we managed to score three was a big boost and a real indicator as to how far we had come in previous years.
Current top scorer Ross Stewart netted two against Wycombe last time out but who are the other key players in the Sunderland side that the Chairboys will need to neutralise?
Alex Pritchard, Dan Neil, Leon Dajaku, Lynden Gooch, Carl Winchester, Elliot Embleton, Dennis Cirkin, Callum Doyle. There’s a few! Each player has contributed so much to the side this season both offensively and defensively and is simply a case of them all being threats against opposing sides. That said, Alex Pritchard and Dan Neil are a level above League One football. Bias aside. There hasn’t been a side we’ve played this season so far that have been capable of stopping any influence from them, even Arsenal!
How will Lee Johnson be looking to play against Gareth Ainsworth’s side? What style works well for Sunderland in undoing teams?
We haven’t been one dimensional this season, which is arguably why we are second. This side is unpredictable and can pose a threat from many different scenarios. Sunderland will press and press high and play quick football to try and get in behind Wycombe. It should be an interesting game to see how that works against a well drilled side.
Looking at the Chairboys side, who do you think poses the biggest threat for The Black Cats?
Albeit unlikely to start I’d imagine, Akinfenwa. There’s very few players, especially at this level, capable of doing much to stop him physically.
Finally, what’s your score prediction?
As I said before, it’ll be a tough game and a real test, but one that I’m confident we will come away unbeaten from. My heart says 1-2 Sunderland but my head says 1-1.