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THREE players that pose a threat to Sunderland in tonight’s game with Bristol Rovers!

Sunderland should already be aware of what threat Bristol Rovers pose, but which three players do we need to keep an eye on specifically if we’re going to get the win?

Sunderland AFC

Tareiq Holmes-Dennis

EFL Trophy Games/Goals: 2/0

Signed in the summer by former manager Darrell Clarke, Holmes-Dennis wasn’t able to make his debut until December due to injury, featuring at left back during The Pirates 2-1 defeat at the Stadium of Light - days after Clarke had been sacked.

Thankfully for the former Huddersfield Town left-back, this hasn’t effected his game time since his return to fitness and, truth be told, he’s beginning to look head and shoulders above many others in Rovers’ team.

He’s pretty pacey and has a fantastic engine, although his attacking instincts may need to be reined in whilst facing the likes of Aiden McGeady and Lynden Gooch, but there’s no doubting his energetic approach to his position allows him to get up and down the left hand side of the pitch and cause opposition teams problems.

Alex Rodman

EFL Trophy Games/Goals: 4/2

The experienced winger was another summer signing by former boss Darrell Clarke, moving to the Memorial Stadium on free-transfer from fellow League One strugglers Shrewsbury Town.

With the majority of his twenties spent in the Conference, Rodman may have felt his opportunities at league football may be on a wain, but an impressive season up the road at Gateshead paved the way for a move to newly promoted Newport County back in 2015. Since then he has turned out for Notts County and Shrewsbury Town, before landing in Bristol this summer.

He’s a big lad for a winger and is pretty handy in the air from corners - as showcased by his goal at the Stadium of Light in December.

Whoever turns out at right-back in the semi-final will have to be prepared for a real battle.

Alex Jakubiak

EFL Trophy Games/Goals: 4/3

Only two leagues goals in twenty five league games you say? You could be forgiven for raising an eyebrow at the choice of the Watford loanee as a “key man” but this is a striker that seems to enjoy the Checktrade Trophy more than most, netting three goals in four appearances in the competition.

Another summer signing, the youngster is onto his seventh loan club and at 22 is approaching an age where he may be looking to move on from his parent club permanently - so he’ll want to continue his good cup form in front of the Sky TV cameras.

Small but powerful, he’s not dissimilar to Jerome Sinclair in his playing style, although he perhaps has a little more in his locker when it comes to finishing.

You can watch his superb solo goal against Swansea City U21s earlier in the competition below from 1:44.

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