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TEAM NEWS: Four changes for Sunderland’s Championship swansong; is this Stockdale’s starting XI?

Robbie Stockdale takes charge for the final game of the season. Could he be the one to finally give youth a chance?

Fulham v Sunderland - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

Goalkeeper: Jason Steele

It might be a case of seeing out this torrid season with the same custodian who started it all the way back in August.

£500k-man Jason Steele could have been anticipating events at the other end of the table had his January move to Derby not fallen through - today, however, we expect to see him playing out Sunderland's final Championship game before we enter League One.

Whether Steele will be one of that group of players that hangs around or whether he will be seeking pastures new in the coming weeks or months... who knows.

Fulham v Sunderland - Sky Bet Championship
Will he remain?

Defenders: Matthews, Kone, O'Shea, Hume

Robbie Stockdale has said that Billy Jones is not available today, meaning that the right back has likely played for the final time in red and white stripes. Like fellow defenders Marc Wilson and John O'Shea, Jones is out of contract after today’s game - and Welsh international Adam Matthews is likely to replace him.

On the left hand side - does Stockdale hand Wilson a final game, or will Bryan Oviedo make the team following a spell out through injury? The likelihood is that both will be elsewhere by the time that pre-season rolls around.

The caretaker boss mentioned youngster Denver Hume in his press conference on Friday. Could this be the start of a new era, and could the young left back make his debut? Here's hoping!

Lamine Kone and John O'Shea will likely play out their final games for the club in the centre of defence. One will be moving on, probably for considerably less than the £18m Everton offered as David Moyes arrived on Wearside, and the other will likely move on to play elsewhere.

Having one relegation on their watch is unfortunate; two is reckless, and change needs to be enacted if the club are to bounce back at the first attempt. Thanks, lads, but au revoir.

Tottenham Hotspur v Sunderland - Premier League 2
First start for Hume?
Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images

Midfield: Robson, McNair, Honeyman, Molyneux, Embleton

George Honeyman has been the shining light from the current squad this season for me, and hopefully he’s shaken off injury enough to take his place in the side today. Alongside him will likely be Ethan Robson and Paddy McNair, ensuring that we maintain a youthful exuberance in the middle of the park. If we are to come straight back up, we need to build around these characters.

How great would it be to see Luke Molyneux and Elliot Embleton complete our midfield? They’re two youngsters who may benefit today from a final game meaning nothing to either side, and a caretaker manager who knows all about the U23 lads. Like Hume, both players have been with Stockdale this week and hopes are high at Roker Report that we may see them in front of our final home crowd of the season.

Tottenham Hotspur v Sunderland - Premier League 2
Will Molyneux gain a first start, too?
Photo by Stephen Pond/Getty Images

Striker: Joel Asoro

Joel Asoro has been the breakthrough player from our U23s side this season.

The Swedish youngster is apparently considering a new contract offer and, whilst he will certainly attract interest from other clubs, it is hoped both he and Josh Maja will commit as we transfer to new ownership.

There’s little sense in giving Ashley Fletcher another game at this stage and if Asoro is to be as integral to our side as many expect him to be he should be afforded the chance to lead our line today, hopefully causing the Wolves defence issues with his pace and trickery.


Overview: what’s left to lose?

This season has been a long, arduous journey that has resulted in another relegation. That being said, impending new ownership speaks of a brighter future for a fanbase that have been let down by those in charge for a number of years.

Hopefully Stockdale rolls the dice and gives some of our younger lads a chance to show their promise against a Wolves side that have nothing left to play for.

How great would it be to see these lads give us a glimmer of hope going into next season? It’s a roll of the dice, but why not try it now? There’s literally nothing left to lose.