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Starting XI: Is this the Sunderland side that will take on Rochdale this evening?

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Who do you reckon will make Phil Parkinson’s starting eleven tonight when Sunderland take on Rochdale?

Sunderland v Portsmouth - Sky Bet League 1 Photo by Robert Smith/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

GK: Burge

Well, Lee Burge finally conceded from open play for the first time this season, and just like London busses two came along together.

That being said, the former Coventry stopper can't be held at fault for any of the three goals he picked out of the back of the net against Pompey and he's sure to start once again.


CB: Willis CB: Wright CB: Flanagan RWB: Gooch LWB: Hume

Despite a pretty abject defensive performance on Saturday afternoon, I can’t see Phil Parkinson making too many changes to the back five that started against Pompey – mainly due to a lack of options.

Luke O’Nien is suspended following his red card, so Tom Flanagan will be promoted from the bench to take his place. The other out-of-position player, Lynden Gooch, is likely to be given the nod ahead of Conor McLaughlin at right wing back although his place will be under threat when O’Nien does return.

Sunderland v Hull City - Carabao Cup First Round Photo by Mark Fletcher/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

DM: Leadbitter CM: Power CM: Scowen

Like the defence, Sunderland's’ midfield also struggled at the weekend. However, once again, Phil Parkinson lacks any senior options to change things up.

George Dobson is probably the next man in line for a start in midfield, but it would be harsh on Grant Leadbitter to drop him after one poor game, and the former Walsall captain lacks the attacking quality to take the place of Power or Scowen.


ST: Wyke ST: Maguire

Despite struggling for much of the season, Sunderland’s forwards outshone their defence in the last match. Charlie Wyke is clearly the manager’s preferred choice upfront, and after three goal involvements in as many games he should start again tonight.

Chris Maguire is yet to recreate last season’s form but given Aidan O’Brien didn’t even make it off the bench on Saturday, it is unlikely he will overtake Maguire to start this evening.

Sunderland v Portsmouth - Sky Bet League 1 Photo by Robert Smith/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images