Steve Evans will be forced into more changes due to injuries as Sunderland prepare to visit Kent, but Connor Ogilvie returns.
Gillingham v Sunderland
Sky Bet League One
MEMS Priestfield Stadium
Saturday October 31
Steve Evans confirmed that midfielder Jacob Mellis will miss the rest of the season with cartilage damage. Ryan Jackson will more than likely miss the game but Declan Drysdale could return after missing Tuesday's game due to personal reasons.
Connor Ogilvie will return from suspension having sat out the Ipswich fixture but Tom O'Connor is definitely out of action and could be missing for a few weeks. Vadaine Oliver should be available, and John Akinde will hope to recover from a back spasm.
Jack Bonham will be out for a week due to concussion, so new signing Joe Lumley could make his debut with Joe Walsh also hoping to get the nod in goal.
As for the visitors, Dion Sanderson may keep his place in the starting eleven as defender Jordan Willis continues to battle his knee problem, however Sanderson needs to get over his own injury issue ahead of Saturday. Luke O’Nien will return to the Sunderland squad having missed Tuesday’s game through suspension.
Arbenit Xhemajli recently had surgery having suffered ACL damage on international duty.
Steve Evans - "Sunderland are a terrific side. I want the boys to get some sort of reward; they are still full of enthusiasm. It's been a tough run of games.
"I think Sunderland are better this year; we are looking forward to it. It's a big test but one we will relish."
Phil Parkinson - "We know what to expect (from Gillingham), they’ll be similar to last season in the way they play. Steve Evans has recruited some decent players and they started well before having an indifferent spell.
“We're creating clear cut chances, we've had some gilt-edged opportunities.
"I'm very confident we've got the strikers that will chip in with the goals."
07/03/2020 - Sunderland 2-2 Gillingham - Sky Bet League One
07/12/2019 - Gillingham 1-0 Sunderland - Sky Bet League One
19/11/2019 - Gillingham 1-0 Sunderland (AET) - FA Cup First Round Replay
09/11/2019 - Sunderland 1-1 Gillingham - FA Cup First Round
19/02/2019 - Sunderland 4-2 Gillingham - Sky Bet League One
The Gills met Sunderland on four occasions last season and remained unbeaten in all four. The last meeting between the two sides was their final game of the 2019/20 season. Steve Evans’ team fell behind twice in the second half, but a brace from Mikael Mandron which included a dramatic last-minute equaliser, saw the teams draw 2-2.
The last meeting at the MEMS Priestfield Stadium also saw late drama as Connor Ogilvie’s 89th minute goal secured a famous 1-0 for the Gills over the Black Cats.
The sides have met on 14 occasions in all competitions with Sunderland winning seven of those meetings. Gillingham have won three, whilst four games have ended in a draw.
Gillingham win - 18/5
Draw - 12/5
Sunderland win - 3/4
Special Bet: Dominic Samuel to score first and Gillingham to win 1-0 - 50/1.
Referee: Sam Purkiss
Assistants: Damith Bandara and Anthony Da Costa
Fourth Official: Carl Brook
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