After two long distance away trips, Sunderland return to the Stadium of Light looking to build on their three-game winning streak as Oxford United visit Wearside.
The last time Sunderland won four of their first five matches at the start of a season they went on to pick up 105 points and the Championship title. A third straight home win will be the aim this weekend and the confidence of the Sunderland side will be through the roof. Oxford will be feeling pleased with their recent efforts to, they’ve won their last two in all competitions.
Sunderland came from behind in both the 4-1 win at Gillingham and the 2-1 triumph at Wimbledon, but they’ll be hoping for a more straight forward contest on Saturday. They could be boosted with the inclusion of two debutants in the matchday squad. Charlie Wyke and Tom Flanagan look set to be available after missing the opening month of the campaign through injury. it’s unlikely either of them will start, but Wyke could get a run out either alongside of in place of Josh Maja at some point during the afternoon.
Flanagan and Wyke will be among the substitutes and Sunderland could well line up the same as they did in the two trips on the road last week. Bryan Oviedo will come back into the side at left back, should he still be there come the closing of the loan window. The weeks break will have been beneficial for all the squad, but particularly Glen Loovens who only managed to play half of the 2-1 win in South London last Saturday.
Likely Sunderland line-up:
Oviedo Loovens Baldwin James
Gooch Honeyman Maguire
The visitors on Saturday have won just one of their five league matches so far and despite beating Burton Albion last time out they could be in for a long afternoon on Wearside. Their last trip to the Stadium of Light ended in a 7-0 defeat, if the hosts are on top of their game then there could even be a similar score line this time around. On-loan striker Ricky Holmes has already found the net and he could prove to be a handful for the Sunderland centre backs. Their two previous away games their year ended in 4-0 and 4-1 losses at Barnsley and Portsmouth respectively, they will need a monumental improvement to put a stop to their travel sickness.
The feel-good factor for Sunderland will continue for another week at least and Oxford’s upturn in form should come to an end at the home of a side brimming with confidence.
Prediction: Sunderland 3-1 Oxford Utd