Charlton Athletic will be looking to halt a run of defeats this weekend when the Addicks welcome Sunderland to South London in the Sky Bet League One.
Will the Addicks derail the Black Cats and get back to winning ways, or can Sunderland kick on in the League after an impressive first victory under their new boss in our featured game of the weekend?
📅 Match details
Kick-off at The Valley, home to Charlton Athletic, is 15:00 on Saturday 5 March, as Sunderland embark on the long trip from Tyne and Wear down to the capital.
Anthony Backhouse has been named as referee for the League One clash, joined by assistant officials Declan OíShea and Damith Bandara, and fourth official Darren Blunden.
👔 At the helm
Charlton’s late arrival Johnnie Jackson was appointed to the position in a permanent capacity in December, registered seven wins in his opening 10 League outings, marking the most successful start to a managerial career by a Charlton boss in the Club’s history.
The 39-year-old, who played for the Club between 2010 and 2018, added another job title to his CV, having worn the captain’s armband and taken on the role of assistant manager previously.
Recently appointed Sunderland head coach Alex Neil had spent almost a year out of management before accepting the position of the Black Cats’ new boss, replacing the outgoing Lee Johnson.
Formerly of Norwich City and Preston North End, the 40-year-old has a Championship promotion on his CV, having guided the Canaries out of the second-tier and into the Premier League in 2014/15.
🔑 Key man
Charlton could be relying on Welsh international Chris Gunter to steer them through this rocky period of form, relying on the 32-year-old’s experience to pick themselves up from a poor run of results.
The defender, who also had spells in the EFL with Nottingham Forest and Reading, came through the ranks at Cardiff City, breaking through into the Bluebirds’ Championship side in 2006.
League One’s leading marksman Ross Stewart surpassed the 20-goal mark at the weekend, proving to be reliable as ever from the spot, dispatching two penalty kicks to make it 22 strikes for the season.
The Irvine-born forward arrived at the Stadium of Light from Ross County in January and has been a valuable asset since his signing.
📈 Form guide
Five straight defeats have seen Charlton seemingly dropped into the bottom half of the table, suffering successive losses to promotion hopefuls Bolton Wanderers, Oxford United, MK Dons and Sheffield Wednesday, with the Addicks having failed to find the back of the net in their last three.
That dip in form could have cost them a chance at a late Play-Off bid, with the South Londoners now in closer proximity to the drop zone, sitting in 16th place.
Meanwhile, the Black Cats picked up their first in seven and a first triumph under new boss Neil at the weekend, defeating high-flying Wigan Athletic on the Latics’ home turf. As the Scotsman tasted victory for the first-time in the Sunderland dugout, the 40-year-old will be hoping that result can act as a catalyst for his side to rediscover their earlier form.
Sunderland, who sat top of the pile at the beginning of the year, are still just inside the top six, a point clear of seventh-placed Wycombe Wanderers after a slide in results saw the Black Cats dislodged from their perch.
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