Despite the fact that we are not allowed in the stadiums and god knows when that'll change, our first league game is on Saturday v Bristol Rovers. Here's a run down of who we face this month...
This was the last team we played before we were locked down and that was a 2-0 defeat in a rearranged league fixture midweek at the Memorial Ground with both goals coming from Jonson Clarke-Harris. The last visit to the Stadium of Light, 10 men Rovers were smashed 3 goals to nil with goals from Luke O’Nien, Charlie Wyke and Lynden Gooch, so hopefully more of that! Will Grigg looked sharp against Hull so will be hoping to continue his run of form from pre-season into the League 1 campaign with a quality performance on the opening day next Saturday. Rovers finished 14th last season under the stewardship of former WBA and Palace coach Ben Garner who is one of the Football League’s youngest managers at just 40.
A high flying side led by former MK Dons and Charlton boss Karl Robinson (not the one who donned our red and white stripes in the Championship under Mick McCarthy!), they made the play-off final, only to lose 2-1 to Gareth Ainsworth’s Wycombe at the home of English football. We’ve taken on the Us five times over the last two seasons with four of which ending in 1-1 draws and the most recent trip to the Kassam Stadium being sealed early on thanks to Jordan Willis in the pouring rain. United were responsible for ending our surprising run in the League Cup too last season with one of the aforementioned 1-1 draws being decided on penalties, which we lost on after Will Grigg (again!) and Marc McNulty missed their spot kicks. A force to be reckoned with, by League 1 standards and I’m sure both players and fans of Oxford alike will fancy their chances at hitting the play-offs again at least, if not promotion. It may be a bit of a god send that one of the behind closed doors games is Oxford away due to the stadium being lacking a fourth stand, which makes the away end prime location for the elements! Hopefully our visit to the University City will be a bit more fruitful than our last trips down there and we can get off to a flyer on our travels.
Another promotion contender this season managed by Darren Ferguson, they’re a force to be reckoned with when they visit the Stadium of Light in the final fixture in September. Both we and the Posh are looking to battle it out for Bristol City attacking midfielder Sammie Szmodics who was on loan at London Road for the tail end of last season. However, Peterborough have lost star man Ivan Toney who bagged 24 goals last season, claiming the League 1 Golden Boot, he was snapped up by Brentford and impressed in their first game at their new stadium on Saturday in the League Cup against Wycombe; Marcus Maddison has also left the club on a free transfer after failing to reach an agreement of terms, he was on loan at relegated Hull City from January until football was suspended but he is currently without a club. The last time Peterborough visited Wearside was way back in October 2018 as the home fixture last season was scheduled to be played after the lockdown was called, that game ended in a 2-2 draw with the previously mentioned Toney grabbing an equaliser against 10 men Sunderland (after Bryan Oviedo was given his marching orders), despite Jerome Sinclair’s goal to put us in front midweek.