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Will Sunderland pair be HANDED their 1st team debuts? FIVE key questions ahead of Fulham fixture

He can play left back and central midfield - will Sunderland’s sixteen year old starlet be given his first taste of senior football this evening in front of the Sky Sports cameras at Fulham?

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Will we put up a fight?

With relegation already sealed, our players will have an ideal chance to play under no pressure whatsoever this evening.

The message from Chris Coleman in his press conference was that the squad have a job to do and they’ll get on with it in these final matches. Unfortunately, I don’t think our players will take much notice of this. They’ve failed to step up for the majority of this campaign.

If they didn’t put the graft in when they needed to, why would they do so now?

Regardless of league position, we’d struggle against Fulham. Their squad would not have needed to be inspired after seeing Cardiff go down 3-1 at Derby, and they will also need no invitation to go to town on the second worst defence in the division.

We will more than likely end this season in much the same way as we’ve approached the campaign as a whole, with a whimper.

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Has Jason Steele secured the number one spot?

We’ve chopped and changed goalkeepers this season but what is fairly certain to say is that Jason Steele will be between the sticks for the trip to Craven Cottage.

With Lee Camp’s sorry run coming to an end at Reading, Jason Steele did alright against Burton. He made some decent saves and wasn’t helped by his back four. Given his lengthy contract Steele will most likely be number one next season, so for his sake it’ll be good for him to gain some confidence and show that he deserves to be the main keeper - he has failed to do that so far this campaign.

It will be important for the back-line to help out their keeper, something which is easier said than done.

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Will we see some more of our young players?

One of the more promising things to come from this abysmal season has been the increased roles afforded to our academy graduates. Joel Asoro, Lynden Gooch and George Honeyman in particular have answered the call to the first team and have played with more fight than most of the senior players combined.

Despite this, Chris Coleman suggested that he wouldn’t be playing any more of the academy graduates, not from the start anyway.

16-year old Bali Mumba, Luke Molyneux and Elliot Embleton are most likely to be a part of the squad and they can be counted on to work their socks off if and when they are called upon.

It’s more than likely they’ll have a much bigger part to play next season.

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Will this be Chris Coleman's last away day as Sunderland boss?

The Welshman has continued to make it clear that he wants to remain Sunderland manager.

He has shown his dedication to the cause, and despite what you may hear on the rumour mill - with a move to Ipswich being mooted in the last few days in the press - I wouldn’t worry too much.

It will be a long summer, but I’d be very surprised if Coleman isn’t in the dugout at the start of next season. The only chance of him leaving will be if things continue to stagnate, but even then if his next destination is a side like Ipswich it wouldn’t make much sense; it’s hard to see the Tractor boys having much more money than Sunderland next season.

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How will we line up?

With Fletcher, Asoro and LuaLua all being fit for the match it will be interesting to see if Coleman gives them all a part to play.

It will be good to go out all guns blazing with a careless attitude, but against a side as good as Fulham that would be suicide. O’Shea and Kone, if both fit, should be partnered at centre back. This is mainly because neither of them are Jake Clarke-Salter - the on loan Chelsea man was poor when he came off the bench last weekend and most fans will be hoping that we’ve seen the last of him in a Sunderland shirt.

Our full backs will be in for a tough night against the pace of Fulham. With Billy Jones and Bryan Oviedo major doubts then it would seem like Adam Matthews and Marc Wilson will be charged with the tough task of containing Ryan Sessegnon and Lucas Piazon.

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