Where are we at with injuries?
The conditions on Tuesday night were awful, and having suffered with no less than four injuries after the Wycombe game it’s safe to say that Sunderland could do without having even more problems to deal with in the treatment room.
Jack Ross revealed last week that Lee Cattermole is dealing with an ankle issue and is effectively playing through it, and I have to wonder whether he’ll be able to feature on Saturday or whether he’ll get on with the job in the knowledge we have a two-week break before our next game.
Tom Flanagan should be available again following the concussion he suffered last Saturday, but it’d be good to get some clarity. We know that Duncan Watmore is now out for the season, but I’d be interested to hear about Chris Maguire.
People at Tuesday’s game noted they saw him walk in to the ground without a protective boot on his foot - is he healing better than expected? Could we see him in time for the final run towards the end of the season, or is he still unlikely to feature much before May?
Are we doing enough to get the best from Will Grigg?
One of the greatest sources of frustration from watching Sunderland in recent league games has been in viewing just how isolated Will Grigg often is up front.
The pass, touch and finish that came as a result of a move between Max Power and Grigg in the Bristol Rovers game was an indicator of just how deadly he can be if you play to his strengths. He’s very similar to Josh Maja in that sense, and we certainly had no problem getting him amongst the goals when he was here - so what is it that we’re doing wrong when it comes to our star January signing, and does the manager recognise that sometimes we aren’t doing best by Grigg in the way that we get the ball to him?
Our quality from wide areas must be better - in recent weeks I’ve seen relatively simple moves break down at the hands of Lynden Gooch, Aiden McGeady and Duncan Watmore when Grigg has been in a fantastic position to receive a pass and tuck the ball home.
Here’s hoping it’s something we’ve recognised on the back of Tuesday night, where for the most-part Grigg was either chasing after long balls or standing frustrated every time Gooch marauded forward and ran into blind alleys.
What did he make of Jack Baldwin’s impact on Tuesday?
In my opinion Jack Baldwin was our man of the match on Tuesday - and if Jack Ross was similarly impressed by the former Peterborough defender, it gives him a tough decision to make for Saturday’s game.
Tom Flanagan will be back from injury, meaning the Sunderland gaffer has to consider whether sticking with an unchanged defence - one that has just kept a clean sheet against a usually deadly side in Barnsley - or putting Flanagan back into the centre of the back line.
Baldwin was rightly dropped after a series of poor performances, but responded in the best way possible with his display at Oakwell. He looked every bit the defender that had wowed Sunderland supporters earlier in the season and should be allowed to continue in order to fight for his place in the side.