Sunderland AFC v Wigan Athletic LIVE: Team news and match updates from Stadium of Light
Leam Richardson takes his Wigan Athletic side to Sunderland this afternoon – looking for a first win since early October.
Sunderland themselves are in a poor run of form having failed to win any of their last six games in all competitions, but could be buoyed by the imminent arrival of Lee Johnson as Head Coach.
And we’ll have the latest from the Stadium of Light throughout the afternoon in our live blog – just scroll down for all the latest:
RECAP: Sunderland AFC 0-1 Wigan Athletic (Joseph 15)
And welcome to our live blog!
Today’s game feels like something a side-show given the weeks we’ve just seen pan out at both clubs.
On Wearside, the search for a Head Coach has dominated the discussion - with the Black Cats now understood to be closing in on Lee Johnson.
There’s also been the appointment of a Sporting Director in Kristjaan Speakman, as the takeover of the club by Juan Sartori and Kyril Louis-Dreyfus edges closer.
And in Wigan, takeover talks have also been top of the agenda - with the club’s long-term future still to be secured.
The EFL statement last night only served to create more uncertainty ahead of today’s game.
So we’ll be keeping you atop all the off-field developments at both clubs, as well as the usual team news, match updates and analysis from this afternoon’s League One clash.
Sunderland are hoping to name Lee Johnson as their new Head Coach.
The Black Cats want to appoint the former Bristol City boss as part of a major rebuild of the club’s footballing operations.
The decision to part company with Phil Parkinson was part of a wider move to improve the club’s long-term strategy on and off the pitch.
Johnson brought through a number of young players during his time at Ashton Gate, with many sold on for a significant profit to Premier League clubs.
The former Barnsley and Oldham boss consolidated their position in the Championship and if appointed, will be tasked not just with improving results, but the club’s overall footballing strategy.
The EFL on Friday night released a statement regarding the proposed takeover of Wigan Athletic by the Spanish bidders.
Most of the submission by the group was to the governing body's satisfaction, but there was one element that caused an issue.
That is understood to relate to one individual and the Owners and Directors test.
Here’s what the EFL had to say…
Wigan remain rooted to the bottom of the third tier table, having picked up just two wins all season.
Their last triumph came against Doncaster on October 3 after a tumultuous summer at the club.
A win today could lift Wigan off bottom, if results go their way.
Sunderland, meanwhile, currently sit seventh and could rise as high as fourth if results go their way today.
The Black Cats also have a game in hand on a number of the teams in the top ten.
And here’s what incoming Sporting Director Kristjaan Speakman had to say about his role - and his key priorities…
Wigan acting manager Leam Richardson has warned his players to be wary of Will Grigg - even if he hasn’t quite caught fire at the Stadium of Light.
One thing’s for sure, he knows where the back of the net is – he’s shown that throughout his career.
If you give Will even half a yard, he’ll create a goalscoring chance out of it.
It’s important for us to be mindful of the areas he likes to take up, the areas they’re likely to look to.
And it’ll be up to our defenders to be mindful of all the dangers posed by him and other strikers
Yes, today’s game is available to stream - via both SAFC.com and iFollow.
Simply visit either club’s official website to purchase a streaming pass.
Here’s where we stand in terms of squad selection…
The big news from the Stadium of Light is that Aiden McGeady comes back in from the cold.
While it’s unclear whether he’s in a position to start, given his limited gametime in recent months, the winger’s inclusion is a much-needed bost.
Sunderland will be forced into at least two changes with Luke O’Nien and Charlie Wyke both ruled-out through injury.
Aiden O’Brien, meanwhile, is a doubt.
Wigan will monitor Lee Evans after the midfielder made a successful return to training earlier in the week.
The trip to Wearside will come too early for Will Keane and Gavin Massey, while Viv Solomon-Otabor and Darnell Johnson remain long-term absentees.
And he’ll be in the dugout today!
Johnson has penned a two-and-a-half-year deal on Wearside and starts his role immediately.
Here’s what he had to say:
Speaking to Kristjaan, Jim and the owners, I was absolutely blown away by their plans and dreams for the club. I can see so much potential and I see it everywhere. I see it in the league and how we can step up, I see it in the facilities, I see it in the community and the passion the people of Sunderland have, and I also see it in the academy. The feeling I got from the ownership group [made this the right club for me]. There was other interest, but that doesn’t matter now and I want to be successful and to see a brave new Sunderland. I want to be bold in my own decisions, I want to be bold for the team in the way that we play and the philosophy that we play to, but I also want the club to make bold decisions and that is what I’ve truly bought into. We have to connect the team and the fan base because that can be really powerful at a club like this.