GK: Jon McLaughlin
Phil Parkinson may spring a surprise by playing youngster Anthony Patterson in this weekend’s cup tie at the Stadium of Light, but we think he will opt for number one Jon McLaughlin.
It seems Lee Burge’s injury he sustained at Shrewsbury Town is causing him more issues than originally anticipated, so if Jon McLaughlin was to pick up a knock we’d be down to the bare bones, however, only Parky will know if he feels it’s a risk worth taking.
RB: O’Nien CB: Willis CB: Lynch LB: Hume
After another poor Conor McLaughlin performance, you have to wonder whether Parkinson will lose faith and restore the consistent Luke O’Nien at right-back - at least in an FA Cup first Round tie.
On the opposite flank, Laurens De Bock wasn’t great on Tuesday, whereas Hume has been excellent in the past few weeks, so he’ll surely be restored to the side in the event he’s shaken off the virus which Phil Parkinson says he’s been suffering with this week.
In the middle Sunderland are without Alim Ozturk after picking up an injury during the week, so we are likely to return to our first choice pairing of Jordan Willis and Joel Lynch.
CM: Dobson CM: Power
Grant Leadbitter and Dylan McGeouch were given an opportunity to stake their claim in midfield against Leicester City Under-21s, however, both were largely unimpressive, so we’ll likely see our first choice midfield pairing of George Dobson and Max Power return.
It took a little while for Dobson to get going this season but he’s looked one of our better players in recent weeks, with his energy complimenting Power, who has more time to dictate the centre of the park.
RM: Watmore CAM: Maguire LM: McGeady
Duncan Watmore is on his way back to full fitness and is likely to start again on the right - the pacy forward looks to be a favourite of Phil Parkinson, and has more often than not played a part when he’s been available since the new manager arrived.
Chris Maguire scored a pearler of a free-kick in midweek but his overall performance in the last two games has been lacking, and he’ll be keen to get back into form with a good showing in his favoured position this afternoon.
On the left will undoubtedly be Aiden McGeady, with Lynden Gooch still not quite fit enough to play his part and Benji Kimpioka failing to impress when he was handed a chance to start in Tuesday night’s defeat to Leicester U21s.
CF: Will Grigg
The Northern Ireland international forward was left on the bench on Tuesday but is likely to return to the starting eleven today, with Marc McNulty making way.
It’s a big period for Sunderland’s strikers, with under two months left before the transfer window re-opens. None of the three centre forwards currently at the club have been able to establish themselves as a reliable performer, and sooner rather than later Grigg has to start producing the goods and scoring goals on a regular basis.
His record in cup competitions for Sunderland isn’t too bad, and with Charlie Wyke still a few weeks away from making his return it’ll be interesting to see if Will can take full advantage and stake a claim to a regular starting berth ahead of his competitors.