Can Josh Maja Score Again as Sunderland Host Scunthorpe?

Josh Maja celebrates
LUTON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 11: Josh Maja of Sunderland celebrates after he scores the opening goal during the Sky Bet League One match between Luton Town and Sunderland at Kenilworth Road on August 11, 2018 in Luton, United Kingdom. (Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images)

Sunderland take on Scunthorpe United in their third game of their League One campaign. So far, the Black Cats have secured four points from their first two games. Young striker Josh Maja scored in both ties. Can he fire Sunderland to three points as they look to gain momentum in this season’s League One?

Sunderland Host Scunthorpe

Josh Maja

Sunderland have had to rely on young striker Josh Maja so far this season. With new signing Charlie Wyke injured, Maja is the Black Cats’ only recognised striker. He scored the equaliser in the 2-1 victory over Charlton Athletic in the opening home game. He followed this up by opening the scoreline in the away draw at Luton Town.

Maja was used as a substitute in the Carabao Cup in midweek in an attempt to keep him fresh. Jack Ross used Chris Maguire in an advanced forward position as Sunderland suffered defeat despite playing some good football throughout. Sunderland boss Jack Ross is expected to revert to his full strength team with Maja restored to the starting lineup. The youngster is full of confidence at the moment and is capable of scoring at least one more this Sunday to fire Sunderland to victory.

Team News

Sunderland manager Jack Ross is expected to name the strongest line up he can with several players sidelined. He rested several players during the League Cup game in midweek. Glenn Loovens and Bryan Oviedo are expected to return as is Josh Maja. Adam Mathews trained this week and could feature. New signing Dylan McGeouch has also begun training but this game could be too soon for him.

Scunthorpe captain Rory McArdle is back in contention have missed the opening games. Manager Nick Daws made numerous changes in midweek in the League Cup. However, even though they were defeated, the players who featured all have a chance of being involved at the Stadium of Light.

Current Form

Sunderland have taken four points from their opening two League games. A dramatic last minute winner against Charlton on the first day sent fans wild. They followed this up with a 1-1 draw away at Luton Town. Many saw it as two points dropped. However, a point away from home is no mean feat. The Black Cats were then knocked out of the League Cup by Sheffield Wednesday in a game where Sunderland, for long periods, were the better team.

Scunthorpe United, like Sunderland, have picked up four points so far. An opening day victory at newly promoted Coventry City was followed by a home draw against Walsall. United were also knocked out of the League Cup in midweek. They suffered a 2-1 home defeat at the hands of Doncaster Rovers.

Ones to Watch

Josh Maja has scored two in two but Chris Maguire has also stood out so far. The former Sheffield Wednesday and Oxford attacker, signed recently from Bury has impressed so far and is relishing the challenge at the Stadium of Light. In the absence of midfielder Dylan McGeouch, Maguire’s creativity has proved important.

Prediction

This will be a tough game for both sides. Both have made changes in the summer to their playing personnel and both sides are still gelling. Scunthorpe made many of their new signings near the end of the transfer window and look further away from being a team then Sunderland. The Black Cats even in defeat in midweek looked good, missing only an out-and-out striker in the final third.

Josh Maja’s return should help. Sunderland are looking to make the Stadium of Light a fortress and will be wanting to secure the points in front of 30,000 + fans. A hard fought game is expected but Sunderland should have enough quality to win.

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