Don Goodman namechecks Oxford United, Derby County, Plymouth Argyle and Sunderland in relegation chat


  • Sunderland faces potential relegation scrap in Championship with young squad & goal-scoring issues.
  • New boss Regis Le Bris must navigate past struggles from last season & cultivate success.
  • Goodman predicts Derby County, Oxford United, and Plymouth Argyle may face challenges in upcoming campaign.

Former Sunderland man Don Goodman believes his old side could be involved in a relegation scrap in the Championship in the upcoming campaign and has named Oxford United, Plymouth Argyle and Derby County as others that could struggle.

The Black Cats have recently appointed Regis Le Bris as their new boss this summer, as they look to put last season’s turmoil behind them with a new man at the helm.

The Mackems had Tony Mowbray, Michael Beale, and Mike Dodds in charge at various points in the past 12 months, in a campaign that fizzled out in a rather disappointing manner.

The pundit also believes Championship new boys Derby and Oxford could be in trouble come May, as well as Wayne Rooney’s Plymouth side.

Don Goodman fears 23/24 hangover could hamper Sunderland’s campaign

Sunderland finished the previous campaign with just two wins in their final 15 matches, as the atmosphere round the Stadium of Light turned sour after a promising season petered out into nothing.

With a young squad at their disposal, the trials and tribulations of a Championship campaign eventually caught up with the Black Cats, who could also lose star boys Jack Clarke and Jobe Bellingham this summer.

Sunderland Championship record in 2024









Win %


Points per game


Source: Soccerbase

Le Bris has been instated on Wearside largely due to his ability at working with the stars of tomorrow, but Goodman isn’t overly confident that his former side need to address their problems in front of goal ahead of the season-opener next month.

When asked on the subject of Championship relegation, Goodman said: “Sunderland finished the season winning just two of their last 15 games.

“They’ve got a new manager in Regis Le Bris, whose background is in developing young footballers, but this is the Championship, so it’s very difficult for a whole group of young players to succeed.

“They didn’t have any strikers capable of performing at that level and struggled for goals.”

As well as Sunderland, Goodman also believes two of the promoted sides will struggle with their new surroundings in the year to come, with playoff winners Oxford United and Derby County predicted tough seasons ahead.

“Des Buckingham has a huge job on his hands at Oxford as play-off winners are notoriously the teams that struggle the most. It’s just brilliant that they’re in the Championship.


”I hope I’m wrong” – Don Goodman issues 2024/25 Sunderland prediction

Goodman is slightly concerned about his old side’s prospects in the new season

“Derby County remind me of Sheffield Wednesday last season as they have one of the oldest teams in the division. Wednesday struggled with the physical side of things early on last year, so it’s interesting to see Paul Warne move on a number of 30-plus-year-olds and bring pace and energy into the club. That gap still needs to be bridged, though.

Portsmouth tipped for strong campaign but Blackburn Rovers, Plymouth Argyle could be in trouble

While the Rams and the U’s are tipped to struggle, Goodman thinks League One winners Portsmouth could have a strong season after returning to the second tier.

John Mousinho has added some key personnel to his squad at Fratton Park of late, with Sam Silvera joining on a season-long loan deal from Middlesbrough, while Josh Murphy [pictured] was convinced to join from Oxford United.

Josh Murphy

Goodman said: “I would expect Portsmouth to be the strongest of the relegated clubs and, therefore, I’m looking at the clubs that just about survived.”

On the flip side of that, two sides that just about maintained their Championship status last season are in line for another season on the brink, according to Goodman, with Blackburn Rovers and Plymouth Argyle set to be looking over their shoulders more often than not.

“John Eustace has a big job on his hands at Blackburn after they relied so heavily on Sammie Szmodics, it would be some achievement if he could replicate such performances.

“I’m not sure about Plymouth, and that’s not because of Wayne Rooney, it’s just the nature of them being in the Championship.”

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