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James Crawley

James Crawley writes

Posted Friday, February 9th 2018

Big Match Preview: Sunderland (home)

City will be looking for a return to winning ways when they host Sunderland at Ashton Gate this weekend.

Lee Johnson's side slipped against relegation fighters Bolton Wanderers last week and so will be wary of a determined Black Cats, who themselves are looking to move out of the bottom three.

FACTFILE

Formed: 1879
Nickname: Black Cats
Website: www.safc.com
Twitter: @SunderlandAFC
Ground: Stadium of Light
Capacity: 49,000

Honours:
First Division: 1891/92, 1892/93, 1894/85, 1901/02, 1912/13, 1935/36
Second Division: 1975/76, 1995/96, 1998/99, 2004/05, 2006/07
Second Division play-off winners: 1989/90
Third Division: 1987/88
FA Cup: 1937, 1973
Charity Shield: 1936

Last season:
League finish:
20th (Premier League)
FA Cup:
Third round, lost to Burnley
EFL Cup:
Fourth round, lost to Southampton
Top scorer:
Jermain Defoe, 15 goals
Average attendance:
41,287

HOW DID THEY GET HERE?

Sunderland have managed just five Sky Bet Championship wins all season, only securing their first home win for a year when they beat Fulham 1-0 in December.

It’s fair to say the Black Cats have struggled since their relegation from the Premier League in May and they face another relegation brawl now in the division below.

But there is a new-found sense of hope, following the appointment of former Wales boss Chris Coleman, who has overseen four of their handful of victories this season.

The club is synonymous with the Premier League, having appeared in England's top league 16 times in its 21-year history and there is a belief, if they can stay up during the current campaign, of mounting a serious challenge of a return to the big time next year.

Chris Coleman

MEET THE GAFFER - CHRIS COLEMAN

Coleman is a new face at the Stadium of Light, having replaced Simon Grayson in November.

He stood down from his position of head coach of the Wales national team, where he famously guided the Dragons – now coached by Manchester United legend Ryan Giggs – to the 2016 European Championship semi-finals.

The Swansea-born manager was a defender in his playing days, which included a career with Manchester City, the Swans, Crystal Palace, Blackburn Rovers and Fulham.

His management career began at Craven Cottage ahead of spells at Real Sociedad and Coventry City, all before he took the national job with Wales and his subsequent move to Sunderland.

Up for the challenge: Aiden McGeady

STAR MAN – AIDEN MCGEADY

A Republic of Ireland international whose career has taken him to Scotland - where he actually was born - Russia and now England.

A tricky winger full of tricks, he joined Celtic in 2010 and progressed through their Academy to  win three Scottish Premier League title and four cups.

He also landed three Young Player of the Year awards and the main award in 2008.

In 2010 he stunned Glasgow by joining Spartak Moscow for a fee of £9.5m - making him the most expensive Scottish export.

McGeady spent four years in Russia before returning to the UK with Everton.

Loan spells at Sheffield Wednesday and Preston North End followed, before he signed for Sunderland on a three-year deal in the summer, reuniting him with his old Preston boss.

MEMORABLE MEETING 1993/94

Bristol City 2-0 Sunderland

Goals: Allison 82; Baird 90

Sunderland faded despite a bright start to the Halloween-weekend clash although City’s decisive goals would only come in the final ten minutes of the match.

Wayne Allison added to his goal tally as he opened the scoring, with an injury-time strike from Ian Baird killing off any chance of a point for the Black Cats.

Baird skipped past two challenges before burying the ball beyond Sunderland keeper Alec Chamberlain.

Attendance: 8,162

AND FINALLY...

Officials
Referee: James Linington
Assistant Referees: Steven Meredith & Michael George
Fourth Official: Adam Bromley

Betting (via SkyBet)
Bristol City 4/6
Draw 11/4
Sunderland 17/4