Goalkeeper: Jason Steele
Having played ever so well against Millwall it was back to normal for Jason Steele against Aston Villa on Tuesday.
That said, I just can’t see Chris Coleman dropping him again from the starting eleven, even despite the fact he was so poor.
Lee Camp was signed to be the first choice between the sticks but he’s just not cut it since arriving here and he was dropped for a reason. If Coleman does bring him back he has to stay in the side irrespective of form - Steele being chucked from the team for the umpteenth time this season will floor him confidence-wise and it’ll undoubtedly put an end to his Sunderland career if he’s left out once more.
Max Stryjek handled himself well on Wednesday for the U23s against Newcastle, and is an outside bet for a start, but in reality it’s unlikely that Coleman will chuck another youngster into this pressure pot of a relegation battle.
Defence: Jones, Kone, Galloway, Oviedo
No - don’t click off the article!
I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to scare you... it’s just... we don’t have much choice!
It’s entirely possible that Chris Coleman might play a back five again, shoehorning Jones and Galloway into the centre of his defence, but I don’t think I can stomach seeing us line up with two completely awful full backs playing in the middle and neither should the Sunderland manager.
Coleman suggested that they’d make a late decision on John O’Shea due to his fitness, but since a fully fit John O’Shea is generally useless I struggle to see the point in his inclusion if he’s struggling, even despite our desperation.
I don’t really hate the idea of Billy Jones at right back in four-man defence because it means there’s less expected of him offensively, though it’d be hard on Donald Love, who wasn’t really that bad in midweek.
Midfield: Cattermole, Ejaria, Robson
If we do go with a back four it’ll surely mean that we also opt for a three man midfield, something we’ve been crying out for in recent weeks.
I think it’s a perfect opportunity to give Ethan Robson another start, who will be brimming with confidence having signed a new contract this week. Ovie Ejaria - who looks tidy in possession and might benefit from a more ‘free’ role in front of two holding players - should regain his spot, though I could make a case for playing George Honeyman instead of him.
Front Three: Asoro, Maja, LuaLua
We desperately need to win this game, and we won’t do it by trying out the same old methods that have failed us so often in recent weeks.
Some unpredictability either side of a striker who can drop deep and hold up play will be essential if we’re going to take three points from Loftus Road, and that’s why I’m going with the trio of Joel Asoro, Josh Maja and Kazenga LuaLua up top.
Congolese trickster LuaLua was brought in to provide a spark in front of goal, yet he hasn’t started a game yet since joining in January. But, now that he’s back fit and training regularly it’s about time that he started contributing something - so why not take that gamble today in a massive game against his former side?