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THREE CHANGES! Is this the Sunderland starting eleven that Phil Parkinson will pick tonight?

With Willis, Lynch, Conor McLaughlin and Flanagan all out, Phil Parkinson has huge problems picking a defence this evening. Who is likely to start? We’re predicting THREE changes to the side that lost at Scunthorpe...

Sunderland v Gillingham - FA Cup Photo by Mark Fletcher/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

GK: Lee Burge

The former Coventry City stopper returned to the side in the 3-0 defeat at Scunthorpe United and, despite a disappointing return, is likely to start tonight’s tie.

Jon McLaughlin didn’t grasp his opportunity to impress when Burge was absent through injury and, with a huge game coming up on Saturday, Phil Parkinson will want to get minutes into the goalkeeper to make sure he is sharp.

Anthony Patterson has travelled with the squad, but we think it’s unlikely he’ll be handed a debut in a game that demands a response from the team after the poor recent displays.

Sheffield United v Sunderland AFC - Carabao Cup Third Round Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

RB: O’Nien CB: Taylor CB: De Bock LB: Hume

There’s a huge selection problem for Parkinson in defence tonight, with confirmation that Jordan Willis, Joel Lynch (both injured), Tom Flanagan (international duty) and Conor McLaughlin (suspended) are out, whilst Alim Ozturk is struggling with a problem picked up in the defeat to Leicester City Under-21s.

The Lads are down to the bare bones.

Luke O’Nien will likely continue at right-back, whereas Denver Hume will also likely play on the opposite side, with Laurens De Bock possibly being forced to play out of position in central defence. De Bock performed there in the game against Scunthorpe United and struggled, but there really aren’t many more options.

One of two youngsters will partner him, with both Brandon Taylor and Jack Bainbridge travelling to Gillingham. We’d expect Taylor to get the nod, having already played once this term in the 3-2 win over Grimsby Town.

Burnley v Sunderland - Carabao Cup Second Round Photo by Chloe Knott - Danehouse/Getty Images

CM: Leadbitter CM: Power

George Dobson is another injury casualty, with the manager confirming he’s nursing a slight knock. Captain Grant Leadbitter is likely to take his place and come back into the side ahead of Dylan McGeouch.

Max Power ended up at right-back in the defeat to Scunthorpe, but will start tonight’s game in the centre of the park having established himself as one of the first names on Parkinson’s team-sheet since his arrival in October.

Sunderland v Gillingham - FA Cup Photo by Mark Fletcher/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

RM: Watmore CAM: Maguire LM: McGeady

The advanced midfield will have a familiar look for the Lads tonight.

Lynden Gooch is nearing full fitness but won’t be risked, so Duncan Watmore will be deployed on the right-hand side to give the side some width and pace. On the opposite flank Aiden McGeady is perhaps the only option available to the manager, with Benji Kimpioka away on international duty and Chris Maguire taking up the number ten role.

The Irish international scored the goal that earned the replay, but will be hoping for an improved performance from himself after looking off colour since the departure of Jack Ross.

Sunderland v Gillingham - FA Cup: 1st Round Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

ST: Marc McNulty

Charlie Wyke may be nearing full fitness but will not be risked in tonight’s FA Cup replay, so Parkinson has a straight choice between Will Grigg or Marc McNulty. Former Wigan striker Grigg has looked devoid of confidence for the best part of a year now and, despite a positive beginning under the new manager, he continues to be haunted by his huge price tag and lack of confidence.

McNulty, on the other hand, has looked bright when fit and has shown an ability to hit the target, so will likely be given an opportunity to show why he should start against his former club Coventry on Saturday.

Sunderland v Oxford United - Sky Bet League One Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

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