Sunderland’s Coleman Explains Grabban Situation as Bruce Warns of ‘Big Test’

The Villa Appetiser: Sunderland v Aston Villa 2018

Well, the weather prevailed over the weekend and the QPR game was postponed.

Still, there was a silver lining, as we’ll be even better placed for the rescheduled match on March 13th, with Grealish and Adomah back in the fold.

When you look at it that way, the weather might have done us a favour, and we’ve had an extra few days to prepare for Tuesday’s game against Sunderland.

The two teams haven’t met at Sunderland outside the top division since 1974.

It was a goalless draw at Roker Park on that occasion – how will the teams fare on Tuesday night?



24th in the league table with the 23rd best home record.

Last five matches at home: W 1, D 1, L 3   


3rd in league table with 6th best away record.

Last five matches away: W 4, L 1   

Chris Coleman on Lewis Grabban

“He never came to me, he went to see our chief executive.

“As we understood it he had cancelled his accommodation and then spoke to our chief executive to say the time was up.

“I didn’t have a problem. Lewis has to look after Lewis Grabban, if he has got opportunities to play elsewhere to play for teams fighting for promotion.

“But I never had that conversation with him, he never came to see me, it was with Martin [Bain].

“It has gone, finished. I said all the way along, the boys we have now want to be here.

“Whether we play bad or good, they want to be here and will be the boys that will keep us up, not the lads that have left and gone on to do what they want to do.

“We have what we have got, the boys want to be here and I am happy to work with them.”

“I’m not worried about Lewis Grabban. I am more worried about us and us performing.

“Villa have a host of talent. I know some of their players really well, they have a host of talent.

“I am not worried about one player. We have to be right mentally.”

Steve Bruce on Sunderland

“I’ve just spoken about this with my staff – Sunderland have scored three against Middlesbrough, they’ve scored three against Bristol City and they’ve gone to Millwall and got a result at the weekend.

“So, all of a sudden, they’re finding something. They have gone through a tough time but Sunderland away is never going to be easy.

“Just like every other game in this division we’ll approach it in the right way and see if we can come out on top.

“It’s going to be a big test. Like I’ve already mentioned, they’ve managed to get something at Millwall on Saturday so, slowly but surely, they might be turning it around.”

and on Saturday’s postponed game

“Ideally, we would have liked the game against QPR at the weekend to have been on because now we have to play four games in 12 days which is a big ask.

“But it is what it is, so we had an enjoyable Saturday like everyone else which was quite nice.

“We trained on Sunday – we couldn’t train on Saturday because of the problems everyone had. We also had to be careful of people travelling so in that respect it was difficult.

“Every week is going to be big from now until the end of the season. It’s going to be a big couple of months for us. Let’s enjoy it.”

steve bruce has lost just one of his last 15 matches against sunderland as manager (in all competitions)

Memory Match

19th November 2005 – Sunderland 1 Aston Villa 3

Second-half goals from Kevin Phillips, Gareth Barry and Milan Baros helped Villa to victory in this Premier League encounter.

A 90th minute penalty for Dean Whitehead offered a late consolation for the hosts.

One to Watch

Bryan Oviedo – The Costa Rican defender has been one of Sunderland’s better players this season and has two goals and four assists to his name. He also scored the opening goal against Millwall on Saturday.

Embed from Getty Images

Facts to Sweep Under the Carpet

In some ways it seems like an advantage that Villa had a day off while their Tuesday opponents faced Millwall.

But Steve Bruce’s comments offer a different view on the enforced break.

Such occurrences can sometimes dent the winning momentum and as the manager mentioned in his press conference, we now have to play four games in just under two weeks.

For Tuesday’s match, we will likely be without Axel Tuanzebe and Alan Hutton, while Grealish’s involvement can not be confirmed.

Villa’s less-than-convincing performance in the first half against Sheffield Wednesday (then 16th in the table), was a reminder of how tough the Championship can be.

In the reverse fixture at Villa Park, despite an early goal from Adomah, it turned out to be a tight game and we recorded a narrow 2-1 win.

It wouldn’t be accurate to say Sunderland have turned the tide, but they’re certainly showing signs of life in their relegation battle.

Sunderland desperately need three points, but things are looking up for them in terms of performance. Coleman spoke of how his Sunderland side have shown more team spirit in recent matches.

They drew 3-3 away at Bristol City having found themselves 3-0 down at half time, and also scored three in their recent derby against Middlesbrough (including a late equaliser), so they’re managing to score goals.

They managed a 1-1 draw against Millwall on Saturday too, which isn’t a bad result.

With Fulham continuing to pick up results and Cardiff four points ahead, there’s no room for error for Villa.

“they’ve managed to get something at Millwall on Saturday so, slowly but surely, they might be turning it around” – BRUCE ON sunderland

Why Villa Have Got This Game in the Bag

Over the past few years we’ve had a good record at the Stadium of Light, even during our relegation battle seasons, and we haven’t lost in 10 of our last 11 matches against Sunderland in all competitions

We did actually lose the last time we visited Sunderland under Remi Garde, but we haven’t lost back-to-back away league matches against them since October 1999.

Talking of managers, this will be Chris Coleman’s first home match against Villa since 2007. He has never won against Villa as manager – drawing five matches, and losing the other four.

In the opposite dugout Bruce has a good record against former club Sunderland, and has lost just one of his last 15 matches against them (in all competitions).

Championship matches are rarely straight-forward, but Sunderland are at the very bottom of the table.

Since the start of last season, only Chesterfield have lost more league matches (47) in the top four English leagues than Sunderland (43). With Adomah back and Grealish potentially available, and ex-Sunderland man Grabban in goal-scoring form, the signs look encouraging.

Hopefully we can get the three points in the bag in preparation for the Wolves clash this weekend.


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  1. Honestly I don’t think that we should be in any way worried about Sunderland ok let’s not be complacent but we should have every confidence in our ability and let’s face it we are in a strong promotion position playing bottom of the league, there should only be one outcome, we need to start on the front foot and take it to them, personally I would play Birker in place of Whelan and maybe a half game each for Hogan and Grabbon, although as a previous Sunderland player I believe Grabbon would pose more of a threat and would probably draw opposition players out of position for us as they will be desperate to cover him, this would provide more openings for us
    So come on lads play Grealish score 3 or 4 in the first half and then rest him for Wolves.

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