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Championship | Gameweek 21
Dec 12, 2023 at 8pm UK
Stadium of Light
Leeds logo
1 - 0
Bellingham (78')
O'Nien (40')
FT(HT: 0-0)

Gray (28'), Ampadu (64'), James (70')

Preview: Sunderland vs. Leeds United - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Tuesday's Championship clash between Sunderland and Leeds United, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Two sides sat in the top six of the Championship table will do battle at the Stadium of Light on Tuesday, as Sunderland welcome Leeds United.

The visitors remain third and eight points outside of the top two on the back of three straight victories, while their hosts returned to winning ways at the weekend following the departure of Tony Mowbray.

Match preview

Sunderland's Nectarios Triantis celebrates with teammates on November 11, 2023© Reuters

Sunderland head into the midweek round of Championship fixtures with a degree of renewed confidence, having started life under the temporary management of Mike Dodds with a victory at the Stadium of Light at the weekend.

Tony Mowbray led the Black Cats into the new term with the aim of building on last season's run to the playoff semi-finals, but he was dismissed in early December with the Wearside outfit sat ninth in England's second tier having amassed 27 points from their opening 19 outings.

Indeed, a difficult spell after the November international break, against three sides in the bottom seven of the Championship, spelled the end of his tenure as the Black Cats suffered back-to-back defeats at the hands of Plymouth Argyle and Huddersfield Town before only managing a point from a 1-1 draw away at Millwall thanks to Jack Clarke's penalty 12 minutes from time, and the club hierarchy then turned to Mike Dodds to take charge on an interim basis.

His first test was a tough one at the weekend, as fellow playoff-chasers West Bromwich Albion arrived at the Stadium of Light with a five-point lead over the Black Cats, but the hosts were able to make a return to winning ways following the departure of their former boss, having gone 2-0 up in the final 20 minutes through Dan Ballard and Dan Neil before standing strong for the final stretch as Brandon Thomas-Asante halved the deficit late on.

Now with a degree of confidence returning to the camp, having quickly climbed back into the top six, albeit only leading Cardiff City and Hull City on goal difference, Sunderland will aim to make it back-to-back Championship wins for the first time since early October on Tuesday to further strengthen their position with the chance to move fifth depending on other results.

Leeds United manager Daniel Farke reacts on October 28, 2023© Reuters

They certainly face another difficult test in Wearside, though, as Leeds United arrive aiming to make it four league wins on the bounce and eight unbeaten on Tuesday.

In their bid to make an immediate return to the Premier League under Daniel Farke, the Yorkshire outfit have enjoyed a fine start to the Championship campaign, with only the eye-catching records of Leicester City and Ipswich Town denying them a place in the top two at this stage, having picked up 41 points from their first 20 outings and 39 from the last 17 attempts after finding their groove under the new boss.

In those 17 matches, Farke's men have suffered two defeats with the latest coming away at Stoke City in October, and they have enjoyed an almost perfect record since, bouncing back with three straight victories before having to settle for a point from a 1-1 draw with Yorkshire rivals on their return from the November international break.

The Whites quickly returned to winning ways with a 3-1 triumph at home to Swansea City, before beating Middlesbrough 3-2 at Elland Road and most recently travelling to Blackburn Rovers and making it three triumphs on the bounce as Daniel James and Crysencio Summerville fired them to a 2-0 victory at Ewood Park.

While they remain seven points behind second-placed Ipswich Town and eight behind leaders Leicester, Leeds certainly find themselves in the midst of a strong run having built up a three-point lead over fourth place, and they will keep their focus on putting victories on the board with the aim of making it four in a row and 13 for the campaign in England's second tier on Tuesday.

Sunderland Championship form:

Leeds United Championship form:

Team News

Leeds United's Georginio Rutter celebrates scoring their third goal with teammates on September 17, 2023© Reuters

Mike Dodds has little reason to make many changes to the Sunderland starting XI on Tuesday, following the weekend's 2-1 home triumph, with Dennis Cirkin, Jay Matete and Jewison Bennette remaining out of action due to injury issues.

Dan Ballard, who scored his third league goal of the season on Saturday, will again join Luke O'Nien at the heart of a back four, with Niall Huggins and Trai Hume bound to keep their places either side, while Pierre Ekwah will continue to anchor the midfield.

That allows Dan Neil and Adil Aouchiche to get further forward in a 4-1-4-1 shape, while Jobe Bellingham should continue to lead the line with support from wingers Patrick Roberts and former Leeds United man Jack Clarke, who leads the squad's scoring charts with 10 goals in 20 Championship appearances so far this term.

Daniel Farke has more scope for rotation in his Leeds United squad, and he has several decisions to make on Tuesday with the likes of Djed Spence, Willy Gnonto and Jaidon Anthony all keen to earn starts after appearing off the bench at the weekend.

Gnonto and Anthony may come in if Farke affords rests to Daniel James and Crysencio Summerville, who have netted seven and nine goals from the wings so far this term, while Georginio Rutter and Joel Piroe have impressed through the middle in a 4-2-3-1 system and should both continue to feature from the outset.

Elsewhere, Ethan Ampadu is a mainstay in midfield, with Glen Kamara again likely to join him, while Tottenham Hotspur loanee Joe Rodon has quickly become a key man alongside Pascal Struijk in the middle of the defence and will continue to get the nod over club captain Liam Cooper.

Sunderland possible starting lineup:
Patterson; Huggins, O'Nien, Ballard, Hume; Ekwah; Roberts, Aouchiche, Neil, Clarke; Bellingham

Leeds United possible starting lineup:
Meslier; Spence, Struijk, Rodon, Byram; Kamara, Ampadu; Gnonto, Piroe, James; Rutter

SM words green background

We say: Sunderland 1-1 Leeds United

Leeds United are full of momentum under Daniel Farke and will be keen to avoid any more slip-ups in their pursuit of a top-two place, but a trip to the Stadium of Light is no easy task, and we fancy a rejuvenated Black Cats side to take a share of the spoils in Tuesday's top-six clash.

For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at are predicting under 3.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Under 3.5:data

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Northern Ireland's Trai Hume celebrates after the match on November 20, 2023
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